28 Los Angeles Celebrity Summit Cruise Reviews

Sorry I took so long to post, but I figured better late than never... In June / July of 2007 I took a trip to Alaska on the Celebrity Summit (Southbound from Seward). It was an amazing trip and I was very much impressed with the ship: so ... Read More
Sorry I took so long to post, but I figured better late than never... In June / July of 2007 I took a trip to Alaska on the Celebrity Summit (Southbound from Seward). It was an amazing trip and I was very much impressed with the ship: so much so that I booked another trip on the Summit to Hawaii from LA. This time there were a lot more sea days, but I knew it was a great ship, so I wasn't worried. My parents, my grandparents, myself and my husband went on the trip, so I'm going to include observations from all in my review. I'll start with the ship review / getting on from LA and then get into what I did at each stop. Kona, Hilo, Maui, Oahu, and Escondido will all be included. Flight was non-eventful. We flew in the day before our trip (December 20th). We rented a car through Hertz @ LAX, drove to our hotel (Manhattan Beach Marriott), stayed the night, and then got up early the next morning. DM and DH both forgot things so we stopped quickly at a mall & got the forgotten items. Then we went to breakfast at Uncle Bill's in Redondo Beach. DF talked to some of the locals while we were in the mall and they suggested we go there. At 10am there was about a 20 minute wait, so DH and I walked down to the beach (not far, just all downhill which made coming back a bit of a workout). Then the 4 of us took the car over to the Hollywood sign. DH had never seen it, so we figured he should see Griffith Park. I'm SO glad we decided to do this. I've heard that the best time to do this is right after a huge rain storm and it was pouring the few days before we arrived. We had PERFECT weather. Albeit, a little cold, but it was so clear we could see everything. If you are renting a car in LA, I HIGHLY recommend the navigation upgrade. If we didn't have that, I wouldn't know where we were at all. After we finished with Griffith Park / Hollywood Sign, we started back towards an off airport Hertz location to return the car. (Quite close to the pier) Embarkation: When we arrived at the pier it was a mad house. MUCH more so than Alaska. My grandparents arrived about 15 minutes before us and since my grandma's in a wheelchair; they were whisked away and got on board in about 15 minutes tops. By the time we got there and got on line, my grandfather was in his room and they went to get lunch. After about 45 minutes of waiting on line outside we got into the building. Right before we did though there was SUCH a cute owl we saw napping in the planks above. (had to add that because it brightened my mood on line) Then it was another hour until we got to the front of the line and got our cards to board. Then they gave us a boarding number. By the time they called our number another 30 minutes went by and what we were unaware of is that there was another line after your number called to then get on the ship. That line was another 45 minutes. There was a very nice gentleman in charge of the situation talking to us (wish I could remember his name). He explained that they were only allowed 1 gangplank and that was what the hold up was for. I felt bad for him because so many people felt the need to yell at him for something that wasn't Celebrity's or his fault. The pier really needs to make another gangplank available for ease of checking in. Lesson: If you are leaving out of LA, make sure you don't arrive at the busy times. We wanted to see things before hand, so we got there at prime time which was a mistake. On Board Finally: *sigh* Thank goodness we finally got on board. DH & DF headed straight for the buffet. Even though we were starving, we got a special for the spa for a raffle drawing while we were on-line, so DM and I headed there. Sadly, by the time they got there the raffle was over. I suggested they not hand those specials out for those who wouldn't be able to make the drawing on time and headed to the spa with DM (we were all starving at this point). Great service at the buffet, same as I remembered! After we skarfed down some food, DM and I headed for the Normandie to make reservations for one of the days we were there. DH & DF went to check out the rooms. The ship was as gorgeous as I remembered. DM & I were on our way down to the Normandie, but we saw on the side of the buffet, they had a station setting up reservations. What a great idea! So, we did it right there and then headed back to the spa for one of their spa tours. I was excited to see if the Rasul treatment was open this time. It was and I made 1 appointment for a massage for me, 1 for DH, and the Rasul on a different day for the both of us! (super excitement!) Okay, to the room. This time I didn't have an aft, but the room was still nice. I have to say that my best experience and something that will stay with me forever was our room Steward. His name is Santana and he was AMAZING!!!!!!!! He went OUT of his way to help us whenever and I swear he had GPS on me because every time I went back to the room, he was there to open my door! I hope someone from the cruise line is reading this part because they need to give Santana MAJOR credit for how amazing he is. Something my grandma wants to add: Santana went so far out of his way for us it isn't even funny. We (my grandparents) like to keep the door open to the bathroom at night for a little bit of light. But, they were having issues with the door bouncing open and slamming closed during the night. So, Santana made something to put under the door so it wouldn't slam at night. Really, if that isn't going above and beyond, I don't know what is! The rest of the staff was very friendly and courteous and they also treated us like Celebrities. In particular, I also really liked our wine sommelier, Maggie. She was great! You can still get over-the-counter seasickness meds at customer service or the purser's desk. Free, dispensed a couple of tablets at a time. The sailing from LA to Hawaii was one of the roughest and the crew even said it hadn't been that rough in a long time. PLEASE take precautions. Also, if you see that they are doing a Internet class, you an get free internet for 30 minutes (you just have to sit though the class). I didn't see that happen during this cruise though. Since it's so expensive, this would be worth it. I was depressed I missed the culinary demonstration (was busy with something else DH wanted to do). Again, I say to make sure to go to this. Art Auctions: I go to these each cruise. My first reason is because I like looking at the pieces of art and my next reason is because I am a collector. The last cruise to Alaska I ended up buying 8 pieces. Eik, right! I liked that auctioneer and he was very helpful to me and not pushy. This cruise I did not like the auctioneer and helpers. I found them pushy and rude. Also, because I am younger I felt they did not take me seriously at all. I'm on vacation, so I didn't feel the need to wear a suit to the auction and I felt talked down to. I even ended up not attending the last auction (a first for me). Cova: This time I went to the cova and people watched. It was great! Had coffee (which you pay for), but the pastries are free and yummy! The 6 of us even played some monopoly. (they have boards free for use in the main areas there) Spa Treatments: I had the Ocean Wrap (nice seaweed wrap). It was a nice seaweed wrap (which they let you try on the spa tour). Then afterwards while you relax (basically in a waterbed) while wrapped you get a massage on your hands and feet. Then you shower everything off and get a full body massage. It was very nice and I would do it again. Just so everyone's aware: spa services have the gratuity built in already, but you can add more. DH had a massage and loved it too. Rasul: That's a whole story. First let me explain what it is. You're in an outer area which is free of steam / water and you apply a seaweed wrap. (very nice) Then you go & sit in the steam area which looks like a Turkish bath type of place. After a while it gets pretty hot in there. I enjoyed the hot, but DH didn't enjoy it and just wanted to get out of there. I guess he felt a little claustrophobic. Here's where the fun comes in.....as I'm still enjoying my time in the steam I hear him yelling, so I walked out. We were locked in there! Also, it's a bit far away from everything else, so he was trying to get someone's attention to help get us out. DH is a pretty strong guy and after playing with the lock, he did get the door open. I got dressed quickly and got out of there as well. (I didn't want to be stuck!) We went to the front desk, explained, and one of the ladies went with DH to see the problem. He showed her and they came back. They didn't charge us for the Rasul (I'm glad because we weren't in there long) and that was that. I'm sure they fixed that lock right after we left, but make sure the lock works before you get stuck too! Normandie: The food and experience were spectacular and gourmet, while the people were friendly, pleasant, and we were treated like royalty. A couple of highlights—the Caesar salad is made table-side. DF ordered the steak diane (again—same thing last cruise) which was again made tableside. He couldn't stop raving about this either. I had the Goat Cheese appetizer (again). It was still amazing. For those who are weary on ordering this as I was the first time, please try it. YUM! This time I knew they were bringing a cheese cart after dinner, but I still wasn't prepared. My stomach just doesn't expand like that! Dinner was $30 per person + a 15% tip. We tipped more. Tons of people were waiting on us the entire time. Even though I know this is part of going to this restaurant, we had a great time here. Wine Tastings: I went to 3 events on the ship. The Riedel Glasses Tasting, Wine & Food Pairing, and the Different Regions Wine Tasting. Wine & Food Pairing: I did this last time and I focused on different things, so it was still great! Again, different than Princess though. When I was on Princess, once you were done with your glass, you were done. But, Celebrity is different. When you finish one glass, they will refill it so you can get the most out of the talk. I thought this was very interesting so I started drinking what I wanted to so I could fully experience what was going on. If you ask me, $9.95 for 4 bottomless glasses of wine is a GREAT deal. I drank more than 4 glasses. It was entertaining, interesting, and I learned a lot. I highly recommend going. Regional Wine Tasting: GREAT! I got to try lots of wines I hadn't tried before from different regions. I enjoyed it immensely. Big tip here. PLEEEEEASE come after you eat something. They serve a few things here, but not lunch. You need something in your stomach to counteract all the alcohol you are going to drink! Trust me there! Riedel Glasses Tasting: By far, my favorite event. Before going on this cruise I had never heard of Riedel. It was an experience. They had 4 different Riedel glasses and 1 "joker" glass which I've seen at my restaurants. We drank wine out of glasses they weren't supposed to be in. Ie: Chardonnay out of a Bordeaux glass. Then we transferred them to the joker (the worst of all) and then into their rightful glass. The changes were astounding. I STILL cannot believe the differences and how much better wine tastes in the right glass!!!!!!! I know it's an expensive event, but it comes with the 4 Riedel glasses. Attend if you're a wine lover! Ports: Kona: Here we decided to book a rental car through Thrifty. My main motivation for this was that the rental car area was a walk from the pier and we didn't have to drive anywhere to get here. It was easy to pick up the car and right after we drove up to Hapuna Beach. It was beautiful there and our first experience with Hawaii. We got some chairs, sat, and went into the water for a bit. There were a TON of people there, but we still got a spot and enjoyed ourselves. It was nice and I wish we could have stayed there longer. We decided to leave and go to Greenwell farms to do a coffee tasting. This wasn't as organized as I thought at all. It is a short 10 minute tour of the equipment and then you taste coffees that have been sitting out (in a stay warm container). The coffee tasting was the best part and it was good coffee. We ordered some to ship back. I also wanted to go to the seahorse farm, but we didn't have time to stop this time. So, we headed back to the ship. All in all, it was a great beach, but a little far and a lot of traffic for a 1-day visit. Hilo: We were here from 8-6. Our itinerary was volcano national park and then I wanted to stop and get macadamia nuts. The day before I signed onto the computer and checked the NPS website to see about volcano activity. (http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm) All was fine, so our day went on as scheduled. DH, DM, and I (DF decided he wasn't going to come) got off the ship as soon as we were able and got on the Hertz bus that was waiting for us. (we were the first ones there) We left the airport at 8:30 and arrived at VNP around 9:15. I printed out the guide on what to do, but we stopped at the visitors center first. Since people were arriving, we skipped the movie and went straight across the street to Volcano House to see the view out the back. It was amazing. (a tip I got from the board) Please make sure you see that when you are there. Then we got into the car and started on the way. Sadly, it started raining a little and I was glad at this point I brought my waterproof jacket. Since we were ahead of all the groups, we had most of the stops to ourselves. We also brought coolers with us so we had snacks along the way. Some of our stops included Steaming Bluff & Sulphur Bank: Whew—it stunk a little bit here, but the steam vents were really cool to see. Southwest Rift Zone, Halemaumau Crater Overlook (VERY cool), Keanakakoi Crater Overlook, Puu Puai Overlook, Thurston Lava Tube. This was great. DM went and saw the main part, but DH and I took our flashlight and went into the creepy part. It was AMAZING. We couldn't see at all. While scary, it was really fun. Then we drove back around to the main area and out. On the way back we stopped at the Macadamia plantation and bought some things. We even shipped some directly back. YUM! Then back to the ship. All in all, a fun day. Wish it wasn't raining, but it was very cool to see. A day later DM realized she lost something (wallet like thing containing money). She was upset, but didn't let it ruin the trip. When we got home Hertz had sent me a letter noting we left something in the car and to call them. DM had to describe it and it was shipped back to her by Hertz. No questions asked and they even paid for shipping! She was so relieved and I have to say that was very professional and a great Hertz experience. Maui: This was our relaxing island. During the day, we decided to take a shuttle to the Whaler's Village and then stay at Kaanapali Beach. We sat there for about 4 hours. It was beautiful. On the way back to the pier we took a cab to the Japanese Jodo Mission, took pictures for a few, and then took the cab back to the pier to get ready. We had pre-booked a luau called the Feast at Lele. We walked there from the ship. It was gorgeous. Upon arrival we got a lei and a table. Then we sat back and watched the show. The way they handle it is that for each portion of the show, they give you something to represent that region. Some of the food was odd, but it was a great experience. That night was Friday night and Lahaina (where we were docked) hosts an Art Night from 7-10pm. DH and walked through a bunch of them and if nothing else, it was interesting. Very festive. We got back to the ship as soon as we could after that because we had a Bike Trip down Haleakala the next morning. At 1:30 we were out of our rooms and down by the tender. We were nervous about not catching a tender and having to wait more than ½ hour. We actually just ended up catching one, so we were outside the tenders on land at 1:45. Since we had until about 2:45 our pick up time for someone to pick us up, we decided to sit on a curb a little further up in some kind of light because it was a bit dark where we were. We were chased away by cops who told us not to loiter... Then DH decided he had to use the facilities, so we hunted around for a while for one and finally found a public one. At 3am another couple joined the wait (made me wonder what time they had). At 3:30 the van finally showed up. They apologized for the delay and said another couple never showed up at their first pick up. We got into the van and rode to the base. On the way up the mountain DH & I slept on each other. Finally we got to the top and were told we had about 45 minutes until the sun would rise. So, we stayed in the van because it was cold! Outside! Just to give you an idea of our attire: I was wearing a tank top, long sleeves over that, my Columbia lined jacket with fleece liner on top of that. On the bottom I was wearing my super warm pants. Then sneakers, my ear liners, a hat, & my gloves. When it got closer to sunrise DH & I got out of the van to get closer to view the sunrise without buildings / other things blocking the way. It was freezing and rainy. Colder than parts of Alaska! Unfortunately, here's my regret. We saw NOTHING. The people meeting us outside the national park with the bikes further down said they saw an amazing sunrise, but we were stuck in the cloud. It's a shame because the point of the trip for me was to see the sunrise and it never happened. *sigh* Moving onto the bike ride. We took the bus out of the park to where a van with bikes was waiting. We loaded up on gear and formed a line of lightest to heaviest. (per the guides) They instructed us on safety and then started us down. It was amazing. I hadn't bike rode in a while and there was a stretch of about 200 yards which was hard for me. But, otherwise I pushed through and made it from the top to the beach. To look back and see where we came from was just amazing and breathtaking. I would do it again, even without the sunrise. The guides were professional and I can't say enough great things. (I used mountain riders) Oahu: We were here from 7am - 2pm. This was the only stop my grandparents agreed to get off the ship at. So, I decided to hire a limousine to take us around so they wouldn't have to worry about climbing on a bus and the 6 of us could just be together. After a lot of searching on the boards, I found abc limo. They were great. Before I came, they set up everything with me and gave me a cell number to call when we got off the ship because they couldn't park there long. DH & I wanted to go to Pearl Harbor, but the rest of the group already went. So, we got off the ship as early as possible, got in the limo and he took us there. There was a HUGE wait. It was nuts. But, DH wanted to do it, so I stayed with the plan. In the meantime Marvin from ABC went and picked up my grandparents and parents. He gave them a tour and by the time they were done, he picked us up. He took us to the most beautiful places. My favorite was Hanauma Bay. It was gorgeous. (He also took us to a fast-food type place for lunch the locals go too—that was great too!) VERY professional and I HIGHLY recommend you use ABC. Since this was our last stop in Hawaii, I wanted a pretty lei before I got back on the ship. We were told to go to China town, but it was too late. One of the locals said to try to grocery store, so DH & I walked there. It's about 3 blocks from where we were docked. I got a gorgeous lei there for $10. Escondido: My least favorite. I guess they to stop here just to include an international stop. I wish they didn't, but nothing we can do. In retrospect, I wouldn't have even gotten off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
This was the best vacation we ever had! We are a couple in our fifties. This was our thirteenth cruise and our second cruise to Hawaii. This was our seventh Celebrity cruise. We have also cruised on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Princess. ... Read More
This was the best vacation we ever had! We are a couple in our fifties. This was our thirteenth cruise and our second cruise to Hawaii. This was our seventh Celebrity cruise. We have also cruised on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Princess. Luckily for us we did not read the cruise reviews before booking this cruise. We would have missed out on a wonderful cruise experience. When we read the Cruise Critic reviews as we prepared to depart we were dismayed to see comments about worn furnishings, housekeeping problems, poor food, mediocre service and mechanical problems. There were so many negative descriptions of the Summit that we were anxious about what we would find. We are very happy to report the ship is beautiful and in excellent condition. The food was meticulously prepared and presented in every venue including the buffet. The service is exemplary and the staff members in every area were friendly, knowledgeable and committed to anticipating and exceeding customer expectations. The common areas are beautifully appointed and spacious. The ship was spotless. EMBARKATION- We arrived the day before the cruise and spent the night in a hotel (Hyatt Regency Long Beach) arranged through Celebrity. The next morning we opted to take a cab to the ship rather than waiting for the 1:00 pm shuttle provided by the cruise line. We arrived at the pier at a little after 11 am and breezed through security. We had checked out our cabin and were at the buffet by 12 noon. This was one of the quickest embarkations we have ever experienced and certainly the fastest post 9/11. FOOD - From the multiple courses at the Normandie Restaurant to the daily buffets the food on the Summit was wonderful. The buffet area is thoughtfully laid out. There are not only trays for carrying your plates (unlike Princess) but there are linen placemats and napkins. In addition, Celebrity continues the tradition of providing multiple waiters to assist passengers in carrying their trays to a table. The dining area around the buffet is oversized so there is never any difficulty in finding a table in any area you prefer. This is certainly not the case on other, larger, cruise ships especially Princess. There are multiple buffet areas to suit every taste. We particularly enjoyed the pasta station, the sandwich area, the outdoor grill with its daily barbecue specials, the international specials (especially the Asian selections) and the breakfast stations. We loved the waffle/pancake and omelet stations! In the main dining room the food and service were excellent. We especially appreciated our dining room waiter, Andy. He made every meal enjoyable. Our dining guests were two lovely couples from Britain who kept us laughing with their dry humor for two weeks. We also enjoyed the prompt and courteous service of Joseph who worked in a specific dining area in the buffet every morning. This is certainly the first cruise where we've found a favorite buffet waiter! But that is just one small example of the level of service which epitomized the entire Summit experience. This ship is passionately committed to service. LOUNGES - The first night of the cruise we headed to the Cova Cafe for cappuccinos. We had the pleasure to be waited on by Wendy. The very next time we went to the Cova Cafe Wendy remembered our names! We were impressed. She was so friendly and attentive we found ourselves there every night. We also spent some time every evening at the Martini Bar where Maria became our regular server. She also always remembered our names and favorite drinks. Thanks to these two staff members we thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent each evening before our late seating dinner. ENTERTAINMENT – This was our thirteenth cruise so our expectations were not really high as far as entertainment goes. We were happily surprised by the talent of the Celebrity Singers and Dancers who enthusiastically performed ambitious Broadway shows such as Le Mis (complete with a barricade) and Phantom of the Opera. That was only the beginning. A female vocalist (I apologize that I cannot recall her name) was breathtaking. In the evening she performed a selection of Broadway favorites mixed with opera. Then, the next day, a special performance of opera was held in the afternoon. She was wonderful. We also enjoyed the talent of a male vocalist, Darren Williams, who had a beautiful voice. We loved the understated humor of Cruise Director Allan. The ship overflowed with talent. The string quartet, Prelude Strings, should not be missed. Jefferson Ang, a vocalist/guitarist was a favorite as was the classical harpist. There was always something going on, in every area of the ship. ACTIVITIES – The ship is equipped with a beautiful, fully equipped Spa and gym. I did indulge in a “spa day” and, (surprise!) no one tried to sell me anything! It was wonderful. The thallisotherapy pool was peaceful, soothing and free. Most fitness classes were also at no additional charge. It was wonderful to be on a cruise where people weren’t “nickel and diming” you to death. While we were in Hawaii the ship had several cultural advisors on board who held many classes intended to acquaint the guests to the unique history and art which is Hawaii. There were classes in the Hula and in playing the ukulele. There were at least two classes in Hawaiian lei making where mounds of fresh picked, gently fragrant orchids were available to string into beautiful leis. There was a class in making Hawaiian bracelets. These classes as well as the materials were all free. HAWAII – We did manage to tear ourselves from the ship long enough to see Hawaii. On Oahu we went on the “Explore the North Shore” tour which included stops at Turtle Bay Beach where we saw many sea turtles, several prime surfing areas and, most interesting to us, stops at various spots on the island where the television series, Lost, is filmed. At Kona we went on the Zodiac excursion which was great. The snorkeling was wonderful. We saw multiple pods of dolphins. We were overnight in Maui so we went to a restaurant we were familiar with from our previous trip. We enjoyed the evening sail past Mount Kilauea where we saw lava splashing into the ocean creating rising plumes of steam. DISEMBARKATION – It was managed well but we hated to leave. CONCLUSION – This cruise was perfect. We loved every minute of it. We have already booked a cruise to the Mediterranean on the Summit and even booked the same stateroom! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
We have cruised with many different cruise lines, P&O, Princess, RCI, but this was our first time with Celebrity. We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to see Hawaii and this included some relaxing sea days prior to ... Read More
We have cruised with many different cruise lines, P&O, Princess, RCI, but this was our first time with Celebrity. We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to see Hawaii and this included some relaxing sea days prior to visiting the islands at the time of year we wished to travel. Having travelled from Scotland we spent two days in Long Beach prior to the cruise. This let us get over the jet lag, do some shopping and get into a relaxed mode ready for our cruise. We took a taxi from the hotel to the pier and arrived around 1pm earlier than advised but this was not a problem and indeed we later discovered embarkation had started at 11am. Clearly Celebrity try to stagger arrivals by suggesting times in the pre cruise literature. Checking in was relatively simple and quick although our priority boarding was disappointing as it seemed everyone had some sort of priority. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and were quickly in our cabin and back out again to explore our new home for two weeks. Our initial thoughts were good and everything was easy to find. We even had a snack in the Waterfall Cafe. The choice of food was great just what we needed for a late lunch. We had chosen late sitting dining. We love the restaurant experience and meeting new friends for dinner each evening. Our table was for 10 so we had eight new people to get to know, although after the first evening two did not return. The waiter, Marshall from Turkey, introduced himself and his assistant, Gusti, and explained the menu and what we could expect. The choice was really good and throughout the cruise items were not repeated. There was a regular choice, beef or salmon, in case the main menu did not meet your taste. One small complaint and this is not just Celebrity but the food was never really hot. I believe this is an American trait. One particular policy we liked though was that Marshall waited until everyone had finished their choice for each course before removing plated and bringing the next selection. Overall the service in the Cosmopolitan restaurant was very good, the food excellent and experience most pleasing. We were astonished at the choice of eating places on board the Summit. There was the main restaurant as described but also the Waterfall cafe (24 hours), Sushi bar, sandwich bar, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, light menu and room service and of course there was the speciality restaurant The Normandie. We tried the Normandie one evening having received very good recommendation from other guests on board. At $30 pp extra it was the highest supplement we have paid for this dining choice but I have to say it was well worth the money. The restaurant has Michel Roux name attached. The menu choices were excellent and all entrees are prepared tableside by your waiters. The food was absolutely first class and although the meal took three hours to prepare and eat the time flew by and at the end we were delighted to have visited the restaurant. Make sure you do too. As I have said we found getting around the ship easy. The public rooms were well cared for clean and freshly decorated although being non smokers we did find that the bars designated for smoking very smoky. Time to rethink your smoking policy Celebrity! Our favorite bar was the Martini Bar on deck 5. Perhaps it was the strength of the drinks or the excellent service we received from Virginia but we visited every night. We like a small flutter and enjoyed our time in the casino but again spoilt somewhat by the smoky atmosphere everywhere. We were disappointed with the evening entertainment. Perhaps this was more to do with the different nationality, we did not understand the jokes. Some of the Broadway production shows did have a lack of professionalism but we did discover this was a new team for this cruise. The aerial artistes were excellent. We also spent some time listening to the lecturer on board who spoke in very humorous tones about crossing and cruising, yes there is a big difference. Well finally after four sea days we arrived in Hilo on Hawaii and it was raining which meant out helicopter tour of the volcanoes was cancelled. So we were not happy and unless you see the volcanoes there is nothing else to do in Hilo. Lahaina on the other hand was completely different. Our tour took us whale watching and snorkeling. A great day weather wise and the tour guides were very well informed and knowledgeable and we visited the Banyan tree. Kona was disappointing as a place to visit, just where is the beach? Finally to Honolulu and Waikiki and all that has to offer. We did go to the Paradise Cove luau in the evening. The entertainment was lively and very good although the food was dreadful, no one at our table seemed to eat everything and the queues for drinks were extremely long. Probably not worth the money. We used the spa quite a lot really and this is where we had our main grumble. The prices of course were high but the experience was enjoyable but this was all spoilt by the high pressure selling of products which followed your treatment. And now for the main problem which spoilt the last few hours, tipping. I know there is a cultural difference between the US and UK about tipping but the constant badgering for tips from just about everyone you encounter became a nuisance almost to the point of deliberately not giving recognition for good service. Isn't it about time cruise lines paid their staff a proper salary and stop this begging. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday aboard the Summit. The Celebrity cruise experience is up there with the best and we will certainly be using the company again. Hope you do too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
It is Saturday Afternoon, 03-17-2007, at about 5:00 PM. We got off the Summit this morning and it should be sailing right now from Los Angeles to head back to Hawaii. I wanted to write this article for several reasons. First, it is our ... Read More
It is Saturday Afternoon, 03-17-2007, at about 5:00 PM. We got off the Summit this morning and it should be sailing right now from Los Angeles to head back to Hawaii. I wanted to write this article for several reasons. First, it is our first cruise on Celebrity and the first cruise that we used a lot of the resources on Cruisecritic.com to make our decision on. Because of some of the reviews on the Summit, I strongly considered canceling this cruise and selecting a different one. Today, my wife and I agree that we have never had a better vacation in our 25 years together. Here are our comments based on comments we read from member reviews. Nothing that we write is intended to suggest others are wrong in their comments. We are all different and we all care about different things. I wanted a luxury cruise for my wife for our 25th anniversary (which was a week before the cruise). I also wanted an extended cruise to get away from the busy office for more than a week. We are 45 years of age. Embarkation: We live in the Southern California area and drove to the San Pedro cruise terminal. We arrived at the terminal at 11:45 AM and we were on-board at 12:08 PM. There is something to be said for arriving early. There were no lines. We looked down on the pier and saw a long line to board at 3:55 PM. We were told that our room would be ready at 1:00 PM and were directed to Deck 10 to eat lunch in the buffet area. Our lunch was fine. We saw about 100 people already eating when we got our food. At 1:00 PM we walked to our Celebrity Suite (8106). It was ready and our luggage was not yet there. We prepared to set out to explore the ship. Condition of Our Suite: I read and worried about the comments about the ship being "worn out" and in bad shape. There are many of these comments in the member review area. Upon opening our room, I noticed ware marks on the walls (from luggage, I presume) and the sofa looked very worn. One of the two sinks in our bathroom had a large crack in it that had been filled with putty instead of being replaced. I worried that the comments in the reviews would come to be true. Our butler arrived, introduced himself and pointed out that the sofa was going to be replaced within an hour. When we returned to the room after exploring, a brand new sofa was in the place of the old one. I would think that the sink should be replaced. However, there was nothing present that was any worse that any luxury hotel that we have stayed at. At the end of two weeks, we found ourselves very pleased with our room. In fact, we meet follow travelers at our door and we ended up providing several quick tours of the room. Condition of Our Ship: Like the comments about the rooms, I was worried about comments about the ship. We agree that we found nothing wrong with the ship. The public areas were always clean. This ship is not brand new. It's been used; but, there was nothing that disappointed us with regards to the condition of the ship. We saw people cleaning all the time. Food: We have read that the food is not up to expectations. Gosh, we ate tons of it and loved all of it. We had breakfast in our room every morning. Most morning meals were omelets, breakfast meats, and fresh fruit. We ate lunch on Deck 10 every day. We selected some items from the Spa because they seemed healthy and we were eating all the time. The cheese, bread, and basic salad areas were good. There was nothing very spicy. We always ate lunch on the outdoor aft dining deck. It was great. But, there were some smokers who would not respect the designated smoking areas. One comment to a crew member and they would instantly address the issue professionally with the passengers. During a 14-day cruise you came to realize that it was the same people who disrespected the designations over and over again. This problem was nothing but standard human nature. Desserts rotated. There were about 15 different kinds and appeared on different days. We ate dinner almost ever night in the dining room. We ate a beef dish every night and were very happy with the quality of the food and the excellent service. Our table mates ate a lot of fish dishes and they were not always pleased. We lost a pair of table mates to a serious ankle injury in Honolulu. We knew no one at the table before the trip and we loved eating with our group. Everyone at our table was more experienced at cruising and everyone of them has been on many Celebrity cruises. We were invited to eat at the Captain's table on the final formal "gala" evening. That was a wonderful experience. We ate at the Normandy Restaurant twice. Once while en route to Hawaii and once on the return. The menu was the same; but, we loved it. We will do it again. The cover cost was well worth the attention and courtesy that the waiters afforded my wife. Hawaii - Our Destination: I've lived in Hawaii and my wife wanted to go there since the day we were wed. It took me a while; but, I did get her there. We only did one excursion from the ship. It was nice. We rented a car in Honolulu and drove all around the island and did a lot of shopping at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We ate on Waikiki Beach the first night. On the second day, we took a taxi to the Arizona Memorial ($15.00) and spend most of the day at this free site before taking a taxi back. We saved a lot of money on this excursion. We should have rented jet-skis in Kona (we will next time). Our Peers: This cruise was filled with a majority of people that I would estimate were over 65 years of age. The ship seemed to go to sleep at 9:30 PM. It was great for those of us that did want to stay out. There were no lines, no crowds, no loud or rude drunk fools. I found that people in electric chairs were often dangerous. Many did not seem to care that they were putting others at risk. Lots of people were very nice and deserved to have a nice quiet ship to enjoy their vacation on. It takes some of these people a lot of time to turn a corner, board or exit a tender or get out of a chair. If you are not prepared to slow down and relax, this little issue will make you appear to be a grouchy ogre. I saw some of them and it was disappointing to have to see people older than me act like children. We specifically picked this cruise knowing this about the travelers and we wanted a slower pace. If we wanted a hopping, dancing, drunken "Fun Ship" we would have gone back to Carnival. Service: This is the item that will bring us back to Celebrity over and over again. We had a top category suite on our last Carnival cruise. We rarely saw our cabin attendant. We saw our butler on this cruise 20 times a day. Service was outstanding. We laughed at the waiters trying to carry trays for everyone. However, I was very pleased to see them take the time to help many elderly people get their food. If I could get my 76 year old mother to travel on a cruise, I would want this kind of extra service for her all the time. Sailing crew helped people with tendering. Everyone said hello. I could go on and on about the excellent service. Entertainment: The shows seemed to be geared towards the majority of our travel mates who were older than us. But, we liked all of the shows and went to almost every one. We were treated to several lectures from naval historian John Maxtone-Graham. He was wonderful. He packed the theater and we made sure that we had front row seats every time he talked. The shipboard television was weak. We watched the same 50's and 60's black-and-white classics over and over. The classics channel was neat; but, its inventory needs to be expanded. The Travel Channel was filled with static. The music channels could have been wonderful if they had come from XM or Sirius. I would have happily paid a premium. Bring some of your favorite CD's and your own DVD's. We both read 3 books. It was great to have time to sit and read. Shipboard Internet is available but it is slow, troublesome, and expensive. I had to complete an assignment for a graduate class that ended on the second day of the cruise. Because it was a final exam, I could not do it in advance. I spent $250.00 on Internet and had terrible connection problems because of the slow speed. We sent a couple emails via the shipboard email because it was cheaper. Avoid the Internet service if at all possible. The web service on Carnival worked much better. General Comments: We loved the service. The food was fine for us. It was nice to see the crew be so helpful to elderly passengers. The pace was slower and entertainment was focused on the generations before ours. The ship was clean and on-time. We would have liked better Internet services We would have liked better in-room musical service. We used the on-board gratuity system and provided personal extras for superb extra service. We are not involved in the travel industry. We have to start a diet in the morning. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We have been on 8 cruises in various areas of the world and also, on different cruise lines. The cruise on the Celebrity Summit through the Panama Canal was wonderful. All of the Ports of Call were interesting and the highlight of the trip ... Read More
We have been on 8 cruises in various areas of the world and also, on different cruise lines. The cruise on the Celebrity Summit through the Panama Canal was wonderful. All of the Ports of Call were interesting and the highlight of the trip was the cruise through the Panama Canal. This was our 25th wedding anniversary, a second honey moon. It couldn't have been much better. Even the weather cooperated. Temperatures in Los Angeles were warm and comfortable, as they were in Cabo San Lucas, in the 70s. As we cruised to the south, the temperatures and humidity increased, peaking in Aruba in the 90s. We are from Wisconsin, so the 70s were warm and comfortable; the 90s were HOT causing us to fight for the shady side of the streets. The passengers on the ship were from all over the world. In Cabo San Lucas we took a sail on a very old two masted ship, over 100 years old. This was very nice and I would do it again. The primary purpose was to see whales, we did. It was a very relaxing mini-cruise into the Pacific on a very interesting old sailing ship. In Acapulco, we hired a taxi and toured the area for a few hours ending at the cliff divers location. We walked back to the ship; an interesting walk through the center of town. We took the tubing trip in Huatulco. The water was a little low, but the trip was fun and we saw many birds. It also took us into the county. Huatulco is a new developing resort. In the afternoon, we took a short taxi ride into a near-by town. This is an area that is not used to seeing tourists so it was very interesting to just walk around the city center. Puntarenas, Costa Rica was very interesting. We took the trip up into the mountains to see the cloud forest. We went from sea level to around 5,000 feet in elevation. The cloud forest is beautiful, very green and wet. It wasn't very cold, maybe around 70 degrees, but it was a bit wet. You will need a rain coat. We dressed as instructed with long sleeves and long pants, but didn't need them. The trip included several walks over long suspension bridges, a walk through a humming bird feeding area where we saw hundreds of birds, up close and personal, and a huge bug collection. Well worth the trip. Then, the Panama Canal, this was why we came. We got up early and were allowed on the helicopter pad on the bow. The ship entered the first lock at 8 AM. We got off the ship in Gatun Lake and took a nature walk and river cruise on a Disney Jungle Cruise style boat. We saw a sloth, many birds, monkeys and a crocodile. We also drove through the Gatun Locks and watched the Summit come through it at the tourist viewing area. The ship picked us up in Colon around 7 PM. The ship was little late. The Canal folks are in charge while in the Canal, so the ship has little control over the timing. Interesting fact: the cost for the Summit to use the Canal was about $240,000. The ship took a beating going through the Canal but by the time we left Aruba, the new paint was dry and the ship was ready to head north, back to the US; looking good. In Aruba, we tired a driver to tour the island. It took about 4 hours to see everything we wanted to view. The cost was $40 per hour, well worth it. Aruba was HOT, in the 90s! Positives: " While the ship was 5 years old, it was well maintained. You could see wear and tear, but nothing to be concerned about. " The food and staff were great. " The entertainment was the best we have seen on a ship. " The Celler Master, Fernando, and our Wine Stewart, Maggie, were wonderful, entertaining and knowledgeable. " The Ports of Call were all interesting. " The ice cream stations provided a large assortment of choices; the soft serve chocolate was specialty rich and flavorful. " Getting on and off the ship was uneventful. " Cold towels and drinks were provided every time was reboarded the ship. " The spa area, provided at no additional charge, included a sauna with a large window to the sea, whirlpools and a heated salt-water aquaspa with bubble jets (we called it the cooker). A specialty spa was available for an additional $120 for the cruise with all kinds of interesting features, but we didn't see anyone use them. Too bad ships have all this wasted space that few use. Negatives: " Passengers were allowed to smoke in many public areas of the ship. " Specialty coffee was not included after dinner; there was an extra charge for a cuppanico. " After dinner desserts were good, but not great. " This was our first cruise on Celebrity and we noticed that returning cruisers to Celebrity are treated a little better than us first timers. Other lines do this too, but not as openly as Celebrity. As you can see, there were few negatives. We had a good time. Our cabin was 2004, at the bow; one of the smallest on the ship. We sleep in the cabin, that's it, so we really don't care whether we have a window or not. We enjoyed the ship, our fellow passengers and the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Cruise Report  Summit to Hawaii/Dec 9th I wanted to share our experience on this cruise. It was my hubby, and my cousin and her best friend. Our 6th cruise, they're first. Our 2nd Celebrity cruise. In a nutshell, I LOVE Celebrity. ... Read More
Cruise Report  Summit to Hawaii/Dec 9th I wanted to share our experience on this cruise. It was my hubby, and my cousin and her best friend. Our 6th cruise, they're first. Our 2nd Celebrity cruise. In a nutshell, I LOVE Celebrity. The extra touches they bring to their cruises are just wonderful. We've done Royal Caribbean, which we really enjoy also. But Celebrity has a few extra touches that really make a difference. We were in an inside cabin, #7042. Our traveling partners were inside, #8005. Both cabins were comfortable, clean, plenty of storage space, and surprisingly bigger bathrooms than on other ships we've been on. You could even turn around in the shower!! Robes in the cabin, fridge, mini bar be careful of the bottle of wine on your vanity. The card SAYS A bon voyage gift for you, but it's not it'll cost you 24.00. I checked with guest services 2x to be sure, FOOD. Believe it or not, we only ate in the main dining room one time during the entire 14 day cruise. It was pretty good that one night, though my cousin and her friend had the pasta and didn't think it was anything special. The beef I had was great. The rest of the time we ate at the buffet, pasta bar, pizza bar, sushi bar, and room service. It was all delicious. No complaints. Pizza was surprisingly good, and at the pasta bar you could pick your own ingredients and they cook it up for you right there at the buffet. And we are BIG sushi fans, and it was very good, very fresh, and the miso soup was pretty tasty too. Plenty of food was available 24 hours. The only bad thing I agree with that I've seen on the message boards is that eggs from room service are not great. It was the truth for us. When you are in the buffet, there are trays. And the staff offer to carry your tray for you. Neither NCL or RCL provide trays, let alone staff who offer to carry your dishes for you. I just do not understand why they don't have trays. It is difficult enough to juggle everything on a calm day, but when the sea is a little rough..fugget about it! ENTERTAINMENT. First let me say, in our limited cruise experience, I think Royal Caribbean has the best entertainment. Now that is said, on this ship we saw the cirque du soleil show, about 30 minutes long with 3 acts, all of which we thought were pretty good. Saw the comedian for about 5 minutes, and while others we talked to thought he was good, we feel like cruise ships are where older comedians go to retire, and to us, that was the case with this guy. The only other entertainment I saw was the Adult Talent Show, which was fun. There was this older gentleman who played the harmonica along with a pianist he played Crazy and Rhapsody in Blue. He was just great!!!!! STAFF. Staff on every cruise ship we've ever been on are great. They really do make the cruise. Celebrity staff are top notch at what they do. I don't think we passed one staff member who did not say hello. When we got on the ship, they greeted us with champagne or orange juice, all lined up in their white uniforms greeting us. It was very welcoming. This type of welcome doesn't happen on other lines we've been on, either RCL and NCL. SHIP. The entry way is just beautiful on this ship. Marble or stone stairway, lit from below very elegant. I've read on these boards that some people thought the Summit needed work, but as far as we were concerned, it was in great shape. Comfortable, clean, constant maintenance and upkeep by the staff. Our two favorite spots to hang out were the Champagne Bar Renato is the barkeep and he was just wonderful. The other spot is the back deck, outside of the Waterfall Cafe on deck 10. Tables, some cover, some umbrellas. It was extremely comfortable and a great place to just spend some time and goof around with others, and the staff. GETTING AROUND IN HAWAII. Thanks to these boards, I realized before we went on the cruise, that a rental car is the way to make the best of our time. A lot less expensive, less crowded, and more freedom than ship shore excursions. It was a good move for us. We used Thrifty in HILO and Honolulu. Shuttle from the pier to the rental car pick up. Rented a convertible in Honolulu for the 2 days, and it was great. In Lahaina/Maui, we rented from a local rental place since most rental car companies are near the airport, on the other side of the island. We used Island Riders? About $50.00 for the day. This was a long in port day, and even though they closed at 5:00, we were able to just drop the car off and walk back to the pier (or take a $5.00 cab ride). PORTS. HILO. We went to Volcano National Park, it is very different from anything we've ever seen, except that it reminds you a bit of Yellowstone. The lava tube was fascinating. We enjoyed it, and would recommend it. We left VNP and then went to Akaka falls. Beautiful highly recommend this too. No crowds, beautiful, lush pathway to falls. There is another fall in the other direction but we ran out of time and saw just Akaka. Well worth the trip. MAUI/LAHAINA. We drove around and enjoyed the island. We found a beautiful public beach at one of the resorts, and snorkeled right off of the beach. It was fantastic. Beautiful weather, clean uncrowded beach, bathroom. When you get off of the ship, you walk into a touristy but cute little town. The first thing that impresses you is this HUGE Banyan Tree in the park. I'm saying HUGE because I can't think of another more fitting word. It has so many big spreading branches out of it that they are supported with pieces of lumber, and lots of other banyan trees are growing out of it. It's just amazing. And if you go there at dusk, hundreds of minah birds in the tree start their chirping and last until the sun goes down, It was great. HONOLULU. 2 days. This was our least favorite stop, and we were there for 2 days. It was the Los Angeles/New York of Hawaii. Actually, I like New York a lot better, much more interesting. Getting out of the city is important, at least to us it was. The first day we drove up and around North Shore. It was just beautiful. Great little funky surf areas, stores, restaurants. Good places to stop and enjoy the beach along the way. Very colorful. When we got back to the city, the traffic was horrendous, so we got off and followed signs to Chinatown, thinking it would be an interesting stop. Have dinner, a few drinks etc. Wrong!! This is not like Chinatown in Philly, or New York, or San Francisco. This is a seedy and dirty part of town that closes down before dark. We walked around a couple of blocks but didn't want to go in any of the few places that were open. Although, we DID NOTICE that it felt like Chinatown was slowly being rebuilt. We saw a few nice looking shops and clubs in between dirty looking buildings that gave the impression it was in the process of coming back to life. So I wouldn't write this area off just yet. The 2nd day, my hubby and I went to the USS Arizona memorial, and also did the BowFin Submarine tour (since Rich is an ex-submariner). This was very nice, very well done and coordinated. We got up and off the ship early and were at the memorial by 7:15 a.m. There was a very long line of people already. When we got in (free entry), we were tour number 3. My understanding is that if you get there too late, you can have tour number 15 or something like that, and they'll only be up to number 5 you can be there all day waiting for your tour. What I mean by tour is, once they call your number you go into the theater and watch a 20 minute film, which is very good and informative. Then you go onto the shuttle boat out to the memorial, and stay there for about 25 minutes, then they call your number and you go back to the building on shore. There is an audio tour ($5.00) that you can take which is well worth the price. Then we went to the Bowfin Submarine tour which I could have lived without but my husband really enjoyed it. And it was NOT free. You cannot carry any bags, camera bags, handbags, or anything into any of the exhibits. You can check your bags at the Bowfin area for $3.00 if you don't want to leave stuff in your car. We chose to leave everything but our camera in the trunk of our car. KAILU-KONA. Since this was a tender port, AND we were there for such a short time, I booked a Zodiac Rafting/Snorkel trip through the ship. My husband and our fellow travelers booked a deep sea fishing trip which unfortunately got cancelled. Since the seas were so rough this day it was difficult to get the tenders going and by the time they did, there was not enough time for the 5 hour fishing trip. Everyone was reimbursed. In fact it was so rough, they were pretty much telling anyone who had difficulty walking NOT to try and go ashore. The rafting/snorkeling trip was just GREAT!!!! The ride in the zodiac was so much fun, I sat in front, and with the rough seas I really got slammed around. I was a bit sore the next day, but it was worth the fun. We saw a pod of spotted dolphins while we were out in the raft, and they were jumping and surfing the wake of our boat. IT WAS WONDERFUL! We went several miles out to sea and up the coast, then came back into the coast near the Captain Cook monument can't remember the proper spelling of the Bay, but it's a Nature preserve. Snorkeling here was just great, it was a beautiful spot all around. You cannot go ashore here, and it can only be reached by boat. We got back in the Zodiac and rode back along the coast, seeing blowholes, caves, and the captain gave us lots of history along the way. They even hosed you down with fresh water and you climbed back on board, and fresh fruit, chips, water and soda were provided. I would highly recommend this trip, unless you have a bad back. Also, if you don't get around to booking it through the ships, they had a stand set up as soon as you get to the pier where I think you can sign up right there. IN CLOSING we were worried that 14 days would be too long and we would get fidgety about being onboard so many days. But that was not the case, we played games, relaxed, ate, drank and laughed. We actually hesitated about getting off the ship on the second day in Honolulu because we were enjoying being on the ship so much. I would recommend this ship, this cruise, even this itinerary, to anyone. Our fellow cruisers were middle aged, like us, and older, so there wasn't A LOT of crowded nightlife, though we did go out to the clubs a couple nights and danced without bumping into a lot of people. Even got to dance to some big band music which was a lot of fun. I would give the Summit, and Celebrity Cruise Lines a big old THUMBS UP!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
We are two early 50 year old professionals who travel as much as we can: this was our 7th cruise with Celebrity and our 2nd this year - we also have 2 more booked with them so we are regular and loyal customers to date. We travelled from ... Read More
We are two early 50 year old professionals who travel as much as we can: this was our 7th cruise with Celebrity and our 2nd this year - we also have 2 more booked with them so we are regular and loyal customers to date. We travelled from the UK having made our own flight arrangements with BA two days before sailing and stayed at the Westin Downtown LA. Not a lot to do around there, but it fitted our needs of being a good base from which we easily arranged a day trip round LA and the homes of the stars with Guidline tours - we booked this on arrival at the Hotel, did not seem to need any advanced booking which was good as we were unsure whether we would get flight delays etc. Arranged to go down to San Pedro using Prime Time shuttle - perhaps a mistake as although it was not overly expensive we did go via LAX and did several circuits there as the driver looked for more fares Embarkation was a little chaotic as the ship had been several hours late in due to bad weather. We were asked to wait at the Catiline Ferry Terminal where free sandwiches and drinks were provided. We were bussed over to the ship around 2pm where it seemed others had fared much worse with confusion and long lines, consequently on boarding the ship we were surrounded by some very unhappy people which put a damper on our high spirits. Service We have sailed on Summit before and found her to be in good shape - yes there were scratched chairs in our room and the jacuzzi was temperamental but no worse than we have had in many 5 star hotels. We did have to make comment to the Assistant Chief Housekeeper about the standard of cleaning in our room, particularly the bathroom, but this was dealt with perfectly and we would put it down to an oversight by the Stateroom Attendant who was very sweet, but as her contract was ending that week, she was less attentive than others we have had. Our butler was not as good as others we have had and seemed rather remote, never around or opening doors however, if you had never had a butler, you might have though him to be good. One thing if you are in a suite, insist they give you the Concierge Class menu. Our butler declined at first but got the message I wanted it and I did order from it (though one day he did blame our late breakfast on the fact I had done so and that meant he had to go to 2 places, so if you do, ask for the breakfast a little ahead of when you need it if you are time critical for an excursion. We did see our Assistant Housekeeper Suardi regularly - an excellent person well worthy of his tip The dining room staff were first class, in particular Marco the Assistant maitre D who visited very table every night - we were on Level 4. Ali and Ketuk were a great waiting team and they coped well with the requests from our table. On the first night the menu of items that you can have very night (escargot, Caesar salad, chicken or steak etc) is printed on the menu but it does not appear on other nights. Do nt be afraid to ask for a reminder of what it contained, likewise 2 people on our table (my husband being one) had food allergies and Marco was excellent at checking things, even doing so very discreetly the night we dined with the Hotel Director. Food We found the food very much to our liking and had no issues with it. We would recommend visiting the Aqua Spa, not only for lunch as others suggest but have one or two breakfasts there - the bread is coming straight from the oven and the Chef d Range from the Speciality Restaurant makes the best hot toast over! There were theme buffets most lunchtimes as well as the usual buffet, pasta, pizza, salad bar, sandwiches, outside burger bar, main dining room etc etc - would defy someone not to find something they like. Would suggest if they have an Oriental Buffet check out to see if they have the chap making the stir fries fresh for you - he was opposite the ice cream bar on our trip mmmmmmmm On board activities Good mix, with 8 at sea days it could have become repetitive if you had not got a good book with you. The average age of passengers on the ship was one of the highest seen according to the crew so some events (quizzes etc) were very well attended, evening activities less so and as such there was little atmosphere after 1030pm - but you got great very personal attention in the Martini Bar!! Shows were varied and in particular Brooks Aehron who did 3 concerts was an exceptional pianist. We were on board for Halloween and this was marked by many people dressing up and lots of halloween activities. They did a new thing - we all gave good feedback so hope future cruisers get it - on the third at sea day the helideck was opened for an hour and the Hawaiian musician on board (Henry Allen) played music to get us in the mood as we met and mingled with senior officers (this was an open event to anyone) It was a lovely relaxed hour and very good fun Shore Excursions We booked our excursions through the cruise line with the exception of an all day drive around Oahu which we did with a private driver arranged through Caseys Limos. The Circles of Fire and Water helicopter trip was dogged by mist, but we did get off unlike other groups, however the water element is one waterfall in the distance. We did buy the DVD of our trip ($25) and would say it was a very good buy as the quality is good and it is a nice reminder as it has shots in the cabin as well. Our trip to Lanai through X was cancelled at the last minute because of "difficulties with the operator" but we managed to pick up a local guide who drove us up to the Iao Needle and around the north of the island. In the evening we had booked the old Lahanian Luau direct with them on recommendations through these boards and would thoroughly recommend this. It is a very easy taxi ride from the tender dock and back and is a smaller personal experience than the ships own excursions - good food was enjoyed! Our Oahu Big Circle drive through Careys was excellent. Next day in Honolulu we went on the ships trip to the Arizona and Mighty Mo but this was a mistake. Because you are in a big group we had to wait for everyone to get off the bus, go to restrooms before you join the ticket line, by which time over 200 others had joined the line so what should have been a 5 hour trip was heading to turn into a 7 hour trip, not helped by poor timekeepers in the group. As a result, as we wanted to have a drink at Waikiki Beach before the ship sailed at 1800 we invested $20 to get our own cab back thereby saving an hour or so and in hindsight should have just done the trip ourselves, it was easy enough to get cabs at the dock and at the Memorial. At that stage we probably would have said we will never do another ships excursion when in Kona we had the best one ever - a Cloud Botanical walk in a private nature reserve with an excellent guide followed by a lovely visit to Mountain Thunder Coffee farm - and excellent small award winning organic farm not frequented by large coaches. At each port there are long lines to clear port security (not sure why as you still have the ship security) but credit has to be given to the tender team who were absolutely first class even when there was a swell and to "Happy Happy" whose welcome back on board was so infectious you forgot about the line you had been in Disembarkation This was first class - we were the second time they had used a coding system for immigration as well as disembarkation and it worked like a dream. There estimated times were spot on and it was so relaxed. Summary A great trip, lovely people - it was however what we made it to be. When we had our one issue, we raised it, it did not "fester" it was dealt with and everyone moved on. We went to enjoy ourselves and we did!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
My husband and I recently returned from our 14 night cruise to Hawaii which departed from the port of San Pedro. We had made hotel arrangements prior to our sailing at the Crowne Plaza located quite near the pier (actually within walking ... Read More
My husband and I recently returned from our 14 night cruise to Hawaii which departed from the port of San Pedro. We had made hotel arrangements prior to our sailing at the Crowne Plaza located quite near the pier (actually within walking distance.) As we had driven from Oregon we got the park and sail package which I would highly recommend. Our room was very nice, the package included a bottle of wine and breakfast, as well as a shuttle to and from the pier. We boarded the Summit around 11:30 a.m. The embarkation process went much smoother than we have experienced in the past, as well as the disembarkation. There is always a line and somewhat of a wait when leaving the ship, but this went well and was organized. We had an inside room, lower level. It was a bit smaller than other lines, but adequate considering the short amount of time one spends there. We were very pleased with the cleanliness of the entire ship. Yes it had some wear and tear but as I have read in several posts...if your home was visited on the average of every 7 days by approx. 2000 visitors...I dare say it would show some wear and tear. We have sailed with RCC, Princess, Carnival and Norwegian in the past, but had always heard that Celebrity was a step above all. Well, we are pleased to inform all that this is indeed the case. First we were greeted with champagne upon arrival. Our room steward greeted us early and asked if we needed anything then gave us directions to the buffet and suggested we go up and enjoy a leisure lunch and explore the ship prior to leaving. The dining room staff was the best we have ever encountered! We had main seating, table 459 with John as our head waiter and Ivan as assistant waiter. We had a table of six with two couples from Florida that we made instant friends with, very delightful people that we looked forward to spending our evenings with. The staff on this ship, not only the ones that we knew i.e., wait staff or room staff, were all very friendly and I don't mean for show...I mean really very pleasant people. All taking time to stop and ask about your day, your meals, etc. The entertainment was very good, especially the comedians. There were two, one a musical comedian and the other a ventriloquist...the last absolutely not to be missed! The other evenings were a violinist, dulcimer (ist?), and the Celebrity Show Dancers and Singers. All quite good. We were uncertain about this cruise due to the 4 days at sea going and the 4 sea days coming back. But there were plenty of activities to keep one busy, or like myself...lying by the pool was wonderful. Each day at 2 p.m. they had "Sorbet on Parade"...a sound of trumpets and the waiters in their finest carrying silver trays would come from all directions and hand out cups of sorbet. How could it get better...well, in the heat of the afternoon, they would bring out cool towels to refresh those of us, burning up! Now that is going the extra mile! We, having been to Hawaii before did not partake of the shore excursions but instead enjoyed planning our days at port ourselves. The two days in Honolulu were great. The first day we took the city bus and rode it all around the island, seeing small communities that the ordinary tourist doesn't get to see. Well worth the 3 hours. The second day we spent walking around Waikiki and found ourselves at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel having Mai Tais and watching the sunset! Hilo, a small port on the big island did not have a lot to offer, but certainly glad we were able to see it. Spent the day in old town, at the market place...never have seen such huge avocados! Lovely little village. Kona on the other hand was a favorite. Superb shopping and sightseeing. Maui was also a great place, but unfortunately was the shortest of all our ports. Seems that most all the passengers would have preferred to have skipped Hilo and spent more time in Maui. Perhaps the ship will take this into consideration and change their itinerary in the future. This cruise had very few children, I believe at one time I might have seen a dozen that were with a crew member for the day. This was definitely a cruise that seemed to have a majority of travelers over the age of 60. I'm not sure if that is the norm or it was the time of year. None the less, it was a happy crew and happy passengers all the way around! I would highly recommend Celebrity Summit and the 14 day cruise to Hawaii to anyone interested in a clean ship, a friendly crew, great food and entertainment and lovely ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
Summit Cruise to Alaska May 5, 2006 We. too, were on this cruise and had a wonderful relaxing time. The service, pampering and food were very special. It was just a wonderful time for us as a couple of reconnecting and celebrating 45 ... Read More
Summit Cruise to Alaska May 5, 2006 We. too, were on this cruise and had a wonderful relaxing time. The service, pampering and food were very special. It was just a wonderful time for us as a couple of reconnecting and celebrating 45 years of marriage. The entertainment that we chose to attend was of very good quality. While it was disappointing to not be able to see the Hubbard Glacier up close, it did not ruin our trip. We intend to do an Alaska cruise in 2007 and hope to get in closer. We enjoyed our relaxing at sea days so much that it wasnt a biggy to us to not see some of the ports with their incessant tourist traps. The scenery was awesome everywhere we went and weather was exceptional. It could be understood that some folks were meeting family or friends in the ports that had to be cancelled. BUT, the huge upsurge of anger and ugly feelings were not even reasonable in trying to be considerate of the captain and crew. Nothing at all could pacify the crowd that spent nearly 12 days raising a ruckus and trying to make everything into a terrible calamity. We have much doubt that these folks would have chosen to get off the cruise in San Francisco. They enjoyed the same dining that we did and all the service that is exceptional. The cruise was not shortened at all. Once that atmosphere was spreading, the complaints were against the food, the upholstery in the dining room and many irrational observations that had little grounding. Some of the shore excursions we took were great and one a little disappointing. The White Pass Scenic Railway was a very worthwhile trip. We would do it all over again, even with some of the changes that unfortunately happened. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
My Wife, Barbara, and I are experienced travellers from the UK. We started cruising some years ago on the old Swan Hellenic ship "Orpheus". This initial cruise was a real baptism of fire! - but that`s another story. This cruise ... Read More
My Wife, Barbara, and I are experienced travellers from the UK. We started cruising some years ago on the old Swan Hellenic ship "Orpheus". This initial cruise was a real baptism of fire! - but that`s another story. This cruise on "Summit" was our 6th cruise, having travelled before with RCI ("Voyager of the Seas") and P&O ("Oceana", "Arcadia", "Adonia"). The flight out from London Heathrow started with two hours just sitting on the plane waiting for a "technical problem" to be fixed. Arrival at LAX started with the inevitable melee to get through immigration and then we had to scramble for the shuttle bus to Crowne Plaza Hotel. One night here and very comfortable. On arrival at San Pedro, the usual chaotic lines were encountered and I think the cruise line could certainly make improvements in this department. Eventually boarded the ship and were quite pleased with our inside cabin. Met our two stateroom attendants Tina and Holil who were extremely pleasant and efficient throughout the cruise. This cruise was meant to call at Seattle and Sitka, but due to problems with a bearing affecting one of the propellers, these ports had to be missed - apparently due to the ship having to proceed at a much slower speed. We were disappointed about this, but not as much as many other fellow passengers who, despite being given a 200 dollar per cabin refund, free drinks, and a discount off future cruises, decided to adopt a mutinous attitude and demand a full refund and a free cruise (chance would be a fine thing!). This aggressive atmosphere disrupted our enjoyment of some of the public rooms and became an unwelcome topic at mealtimes. The ship, itself, was lovely and a joy to sail on. We enjoyed all the facilities on offer and would certainly be pleased to do a repeat cruise on this ship. The food was of a good standard, although with mass catering you have to expect some areas of compromise. Our two waiters, Edwin and Sal, were truly excellent. Our evening dining companions included another couple from the UK (Yvonne and Reg), and another delightful couple from California (Joan and Greg). Gourmet dining was available, at extra cost, at the Normandie restaurant. The Cova Cafe was a splendid place to have a coffee and delicious pastry plus the added attraction of a string quartet playing popular classical music. Buffet fare was predictable with the usual jostling for position in the lines. Evening entertainment was plentiful and varied, with the main theatre putting on some fabulous shows. One highlight was a classical pianist from the UK who gave the most memorable and witty performances and who received a standing ovation at all his appearances. Ports of call were excellent, especially Skagway and Victoria, and although two destinations were cancelled, we did not feel that our cruise enjoyment had been diminished to any great extent. Disembarkation at Vancouver was a real drag and the subsequent fracas with the coach transfer to the airport was unwelcome. Again, something that should be addressed by the cruise line. General weather conditions were good and the seas, although choppy to begin with, soon settled down. This ship is big and stable and would be a nice introduction to cruising for anyone who has not yet tried this superb way of travelling. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
We traveled with three other couples and all of us had a great time. Embarkation was slow and there were long lines, but Celebrity personal explained the reasons. We live in a post 911 world, pluses the bird flu scare and Norwalk Virus. ... Read More
We traveled with three other couples and all of us had a great time. Embarkation was slow and there were long lines, but Celebrity personal explained the reasons. We live in a post 911 world, pluses the bird flu scare and Norwalk Virus. Celebrity takes the necessary precautions that we understand, and it was worth the wait. The ship was clean and the crew magnificent. The dinning experience is something to remember. Julio our waiter was a genuine person who took pride in the job he did, he made this a memorable vacation. The presentation and quality of food was excellent. We have been on many cruises, but can not rave enough about this dinning experience. We enjoyed the four day trip on the open seas to Hawaii. The weather was nice, the cruise director John did a great job on deck each afternoon. The captain would come on the PA system each day and explain the weather conditions, distanced traveled, etc. What a professional the captain was, and very reassuring. You would see the captain and staff captain around the ship each day, having sailed on Celebrity before we knew we were in safe hands - these officer's are the best. We did not go to the Celebrity theater, but the entertainment around the ship was very good. The vocalist and band at the Rendezvous Lounge made every night pleasurable - Frank Sinatra has returned. Our first stop was at the big island "Hilo" Here we did an excursion, and the bus driver was worth the price of admission. We went to Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory and Nami Maui Gardens, and the Akaka Falls. This excursion gave us a good taste of "Hilo." Our second stop was also on the big island "Kona." The ship docked, it was a hot and beautiful day. Everything was in walking distance, we shopped and enjoyed the sights for an enjoyable day. Our third stop was "Kauai." We did an excursion to the Fern Grotto and in the afternoon we had a luncheon Luau. Everyone who goes to Hawaii should do a Luau, don't miss this. Our fourth stop was "Honolulu." We were there from 7am to 11pm. We did a morning excursion to Pearl Harbour and the Mighty MO, please don't miss this it's something we will never forget. In the afternoon we went to Wauiki Beach - shopping, walking the beach and enjoying the beautiful city. This was a day to remember and it was capped of on the deck of the ship when we were leaving at 11pm with Hawaii night. We want to thank John the cruise director for this special evening. Our last stop "Maui was just too short. We were there from &am to 3pm, but by the time we tendered this left us only a few hours to shop and look around on this gorgeous day. Coming home was a good time to wind down. The service and entertainment were at peak performance and we enjoyed the trip. For some reason we were an hour and half late coming into port at LA, however everything went well and we had plenty of time to catch our flight to Boston that left LAX at 12:55pm. We can't wait to sail Celebrity again, I don't believe any cruise line can beat them for the value. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
The Basics Itinerary: 14 day Hawaii Circle Cruise from Los Angeles (San Pedro) Departure Date: 03/12/06 Ship: GTS Summit Stateroom: 6116 (Sky Suite) Background -- We are a married couple in our late 30s (ok, one of us turned 40 ... Read More
The Basics Itinerary: 14 day Hawaii Circle Cruise from Los Angeles (San Pedro) Departure Date: 03/12/06 Ship: GTS Summit Stateroom: 6116 (Sky Suite) Background -- We are a married couple in our late 30s (ok, one of us turned 40 somewhere between L.A. and Hilo) and live in the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Northern Virginia. This was our second cruise on Celebrity, third overall. We sailed Infinity to Alaska in May of 2005 and our first cruise was on the SS Atlantic of the now defunct Premier Cruise line way back in 1991. So it is fair to say that our only cruising experience to date has been with Celebrity. We thoroughly enjoyed our Alaska cruise and were looking forward to another great experience going to Hawaii. Pre-Cruise -- We arrived in LA the day prior to the cruise and did a Hollywood walking tour with Red Line Tours. I highly recommend this tour as you get to see a lot of the famous Hollywood landmarks up close and it really doesnt require a lot of walking. We spent the night at the Long Beach Hilton using Hilton HHonors points. Hotel was clean and modern and close to the Queen Mary and waterfront in Long Beach. On the morning of our departure, we took a walk from the hotel to the Queen Mary and back (approx. 3 miles). It was a nice walk, but there really arent any sidewalks or paths out to the Queen Mary, so you have to do some walking on the edge of the highway. Since it was a Sunday morning, we didnt have to contend with a lot of traffic. Our rental car from Hertz had a navigation system in which came in real handy even though I know my way around the area pretty well. It was a big help when we were looking for Trader Joes in Long Beach to stock up on wine prior to the cruise. One note on renting from Hertz  When I initially made my reservation, they had a drop off location in downtown Long Beach with reimbursement on cab fare to the cruise terminals. I found out shortly before our cruise that the downtown location is now closed on Sundays and the nearest drop off is at the Long Beach airport. Not to fear, as the Hertz web site stated that cab fare to the pier would reimbursed up to $25.00 with a receipt. Anticipating difficulty with this, I printed out this information prior to dropping the car off. Sure enough, the agent at LGB had never heard of this policy and would only give me a $10.00 credit on the rental rather than give me a voucher or some other method to get reimbursed. Nevertheless, Hertz had arranged a shuttle from the airport to the piers and we were off within 15 minutes of dropping off the car. Embarkation -- We arrived at the pier in San Pedro at approximately 1:00PM and my best guess is that we were on board in less than an hour. I had heard of some nightmare embarkations in L.A. recently and was anticipating the worst. I was pleasantly surprised as we only had a short wait after we checked in and received our SeaPass cards. Everyone was given a piece of paper with a number and told to wait, as there had been a backup of people getting on board. We sat for a short time until our number was called and before we knew it, we were on board. Summit -- Since we had sailed on Summits sister ship, Infinity, just nine months ago, we found Summit to be very familiar and easy to get around. The only differences I noted were the location of the Computer Lab and Acupuncture at Sea in the across from the midship stairs. On Infinity, they were located near the movie theater. Overall, I found the Summit to be in great condition and there always appeared to be someone cleaning the public areas of the ship. Most notably, there was one member of the housekeeping staff who seemed to be constantly cleaning the railings on the stairs. There were a few areas where I noticed some wear, but it is what I would expect for a ship that had been in pretty much constant use for five years. One noticeable change from Infinity was the presence of hand sanitizing stations near every eating area. With the recent outbreaks of Norovirus, Celebrity certainly wasnt going to take any chances. Stateroom -- Sky Suites are the smallest category of suites on the Millennium class ships and they are really just a little bit bigger than a veranda or Concierge Class cabin (approx. 50 sq. ft. according to Celebritys stats). That being said, we found the extra space came in real handy for our two weeks on board. Compared to the Veranda stateroom we had on Infinity, the Sky Suite had enough extra storage room for us to put two weeks of clothing and belongings away without having to use the couch to permanently store items. While the closet is not a true walk-in, it is pretty large and had plenty of space to hang all of our items. That alone made the cabin seem a lot bigger. The Sky Suite also has a larger television than the standard cabin and ours was equipped with a DVD player, which we never used. The room was in very good condition overall. There were a few minor things like scuffs in the woodwork on the cabinets (probably from all that vacuuming) to tiles in the bathroom that probably could have used some new grout. To us, these were minor things that had no impact on our experience one way or another. Food/Service -- Since food is highly subjective, Ill keep it brief. We thought the food was very good (main dining room, buffet) to great (Normandie). No complaints or returned meals from anyone at our table. One of our tablemates did meet someone on shore in Maui who had a complaint about the food  there wasnt enough! Go figure. Service on board was outstanding. Our butler, room steward, waiter, assistant waiter, and assistant maitred were all great. A special mention goes to our assistant maitred, Danuta. We had the pleasure of meeting her on Infinity last year and were pleasantly surprised to see her again on Summit. She really goes out of her way to take care of people at her table and makes a point to visit each of her tables at every dinner. The cheers she got on the last formal night show just how popular she is with her guests. Of course, you cant talk about the Summit crew without mentioning Happy Happy and Sal who were constantly greeting passengers throughout the cruise. Entertainment -- We did not attend as many shows as we had hoped, but the few we did attend were great. The taste of Cirque de Soleil was exactly that, a taste that left you asking for more. Kind of like the whole trip to Hawaii. We heard good things about both the comedian and ventriloquist. Ports/Shore Excursions -- This being our first time to Hawaii, we decided to stick with the Celebrity shore excursions rather than rent a car and explore on our own. Here is a summary of what we did at each of the island: Hilo  Lava Viewing Hike  This trip required a 45 minute drive to Volcanoes National Park where we made a few stops at some of the scenic areas inside the park such as the Thurston lava tube. We then drove to the end of Chain of Craters road and began the hike at the ranger station which is conveniently built on pallets in the event it has to be moved quickly. The hike on the lava was less than a mile each way, but because of the uneven surface, it seemed a lot longer and was fairly strenuous but well worth it as we got a great view of the lava entry point into the ocean with its huge steam plume. On the ride back to the ship, we made a stop at the Mauna Loa Macadamia nut plantation, which conveniently has a gift store located on site. Note: You can find most of the gifts in this store cheaper at places like Wal-Mart. Some of the macadamia nut items are probably harder to find elsewhere. Grade: A+ Kona  Valley Waterfall Hiking Adventure - We were going to rent a car in Kona, but since we enjoyed the lava hike so much, we decided to try another hike. This one promised a walk along a historic Cliffside trail 1000 feet above the valley floor. Along the way encounter waterfalls and panoramic views. It delivered exactly that, so I cant complain too much. However, this tour required a 1.5 hour drive each way (which we knew about going in) and our guide seemed to be in a hurry to get us back to the ship so we can go shopping. I think he was more interested in attending the UB40 concert that night which created a big traffic jam as we returned to Kona. Grade: B- Kauai  Waimea Canyon Tour  Due to the heavy rains which had fallen before our arrival, numerous roads were closed on the island causing the cancellation of many tours, including ours. We were disappointed, but considering the loss of life and property that had occurred, it seemed like a minor inconvenience. Since the beaches were closed to the threat from bacteria in the water due to runoff, most of the in water excursions were cancelled as well. I did hear that some people were able to get on Helicopter tours in the afternoon once the skies cleared. Most passengers either stayed on board or took one of the local shopping shuttles into town. On our sailaway from Kauai, we got a peek as to the true beauty of this island, well definitely have to come back here. Grade: Incomplete Honolulu  Arizona Memorial and City Sightseeing  We decided to do the Celebrity sponsored tour since we felt it offered us the best chance to get to the USS Arizona memorial early before the crowds got too bad. This strategy worked out pretty well as we had about an wait after getting our tickets. This provided us plenty of time to check out the museum and other exhibits at this much too small facility. We did find out that some people made it to the Arizona Memorial faster by getting off the ship at the first opportunity and grabbing a cab. So you may want to think about that strategy when planning your visit to Pearl Harbor. The rest of the tour was a very good tour via bus through some other scenic and historic parts of Honolulu including Punch Bowl, Pali lookout, and downtown Honolulu with a final stop at Hilo Hatties. We had an excellent guide/bus driver, Sula, who really added a lot of insight and humor to the trip. Grade: A Maui  Whale Watching  We booked this excursion through Celebrity since our time in Maui was so brief (approx. 6 hours) that we didnt want to take any chances. We took our assigned tender to shore only to find out that our excursion had been cancelled. Apparently the tour operators other boat had an emergency of some sort, maybe a fire, and that the boat scheduled to take us was unavailable. Not to worry, as there are plenty of vendors on the shore providing many different types of excursions. We ended up with tour from Pacific Whale Foundation which turned out to be a great excursion  and we saved approximately $10 pp. Grade: A Cruise Critic Events -- We had a very active roll-call thread, which led to several planned activities before and during our cruise that really enhanced the cruise experience for us. In addition, Celebrity threw us not one, but two Cruise Critic parties. The first party was held on our third sea day, not the first one as we had come to expect. We received invitations for a second party on the second Tuesday of our cruise, which coincided with our last port day in Maui. Since our stay in Maui was only six hours, this wasnt a popular choice. Fortunately we received new invitations to a rescheduled party on Wednesday, a sea day, and all was well. In addition to the Celebrity sponsored parties, we had several get-togethers throughout the cruise including a sail away party, cabin crawl and an open house in one of the fabulous Penthouse suites. Also, quite a few of us went to the Luau at the Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu which I enjoyed. No part of it was fantastic and it seemed a little short, but it was a good time and I can now say I went to a Luau. After talking to some of the people who went to the Paradise Cove Luau, it appeared we made the better choice. Disembarkation -- A much smoother process than what we experienced in San Francisco last year. We did have to wait a while in the Celebrity theater as there were only three officials checking peoples docs. They added three more just as we got to the front of the line which sped the process up greatly. Our number was called almost precisely at the time we were expected to disembark. Once off the ship, we found a taxi to take us back to LAX rather than using the Celebrity transfer coach bus. For $45 (a little less since we shared a ride), we were at LAX in less than 45 minutes, plenty of time for our 1:00PM flight home. Conclusion/Summary -- Would we do this cruise again? Definitely. We would probably like to take a land-based trip to the islands to spend more time in Hawaii, but you cant beat this itinerary for the amount of relaxation you get with the sea days combined with all that you see in your all too short stay in Hawaii. If the prospect of four days in a row at sea without seeing land isnt your thing, then you should stay away. However if youre looking for 2 weeks of relaxation and pampering with five great port stops in the middle, then this is the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
Pre Cruise: Flew into Long Beach airport and stayed at the Guesthouse in Long Beach. Rented a car and left the car in downtown Long Beach the car rental called us a taxi to the port. Had a wonderful day sightseeing and shopping for last ... Read More
Pre Cruise: Flew into Long Beach airport and stayed at the Guesthouse in Long Beach. Rented a car and left the car in downtown Long Beach the car rental called us a taxi to the port. Had a wonderful day sightseeing and shopping for last minute things in Long Beach. Embarkation: Went through the initial line very fast. Then it was hurry up and wait. They started to hand out tickets for entering the ship. I think it was in groups of 100. We were told the staff cannot handle more than that at a time. But at least we waited inside the terminal so not so bad. Wait time: 50 minutes We were the 5th group to board. Ship: Beautiful ship our room was very small but bright. Had plenty of room to store our stuff after we asked our steward to take out the extra blankets and other stuff we didnt want in there. The Champagne bar was gorgeous. The dining room was lovely. I was especially delighted with the ceiling in the dining room! Staff: We had a wonderful staff. Our room steward Felipe and his assistant Sidney were awesome! One thing that bothered me was on the tip envelopes it was the same envelope for both Felipe and Sidney. I did not have a suite just a plain room so I was not aware I had to pay for two room stewards. It was not that big of a problem just hate to be unaware. It was not posted anywhere that we would have two room stewards(even though one was labeled as an assistant on the tip envelope). Wait staff was very good. Our Assist Maitred was Larry and he was very friendly and helped make our dinner very entertaining. Our Waiter Wawan was good but he did have trouble remembering some things. (I do not like fish and I had told him I do not like fish my steak tasted like fish, I had my husband taste it and he said yes tasted like fish. They probably cooked it next to fish. Anyway, I asked for a new steak, our waiter brought me back fish and when I looked at him like it was a joke he said fish is good yes? I said no I do not like fish. At this point everyone was done eating so I told him to never mind. I would go get a slice of pizza or something. Not a good experience. He was extremely friendly and a great guy but you had to tell him a couple times. Our assistant waiter was Joseph and he was a blast to have around. Always remembered ice tea for dinner for some of us. He let my husband clean our table and set up for dessert. We had a hoot that night! Food: Was good the beef was excellent. Lamb was good. Sorry not a seafood person, but everyone else at the table thought the seafood was good. I had heard a lot about the food on Celebrity so I thought it would be spectacular but it wasnt. I would have to say it was good but not star quality. I do have a complaint about the buffet. On Royal Caribbean they have stations set about and that seems to work well. That way no one station is a wait in line for all. On Celebrity I felt like it was a high school cafeteria line I was waiting in. The waiters taking the trays afterwards was nice then they could seat you and you didnt have to wander around wondering where you were going to sit. They communicated with each other and knew where you could sit. Things to do on the Ship: Basically, most cruise lines are the same. But things did seem to die down about 10pm. We are late 40's and I would have to say we were the minority on this cruise, but we were on the cruise to relax and with this cruise that is exactly what you do! Karaoke: ( I know a lot of people dont like this form of entertainment but) My husband and I go to cheer on anyone who is brave enough to go up there. If either one of us had any kind of voice we would be up there. Marriage Game: Seen one you have seen them all. But you always have to love the people braving it to answer the embarrassing questions. Art Auction: umm I will pass on this one my husband spent a ridiculous amount of money there. He loved it! Bingo: was always well attended. We had a Cruise Critic Connections meeting and it was so well attended that the CD stated he wanted us to all get together at the end of the cruise and talk about our experiences. So please sign up for your meet and mingle parties and attend! They do like to see us having a good time! Shore Excursions: I would certainly do the Na Pali Expedition again and again! The scenery is spectacular, along with the whales, dolphins, seal monks, sea turtles, and all the different birds etc you see. Hilo was a big hit with Volcanoes National Park. Kona we wondered ourselves and had a blast talking to all the people. Honolulu was a great tour going to the North Shore and seeing Sunset Beach and Turtle Beach and a wonderful Macadamia Nut Factory. Be sure to try the Cinnamon ones DELICIOUS! Then Maui was suppose to be the Maui Whale Watch but it was canceled due to the boat being on a rescue mission. Which I heard they did a fantastic job saving three people from a burning boat! So we spent the day meandering through town again and spending more money on trinkets! Debarkation: Smooth as silk. They are a little confused though. They state you do not have to bring any of your carry on luggage to the immigrations part but when you get there they are calling out do not go back to your room stay in the public areas so you can hear when your color is called. I think they need to get themselves straight on this. Total impression of the trip: Relaxing trip. The four and one half days to get to Hilo was long. So be prepared to like sea days a lot. But once you get to the islands time seems to speed up and by then you know people better and the four and a half days going home is too short! They had a scavenger hunt which was fun but way too short only 10 items. They need to make it something a little longer. They did enjoy some of the imagination used to get some of the items on the list! We met some very nice people and All in all I would and have recommended this trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
Review of Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 12-26 February 2006 Embarkation at Los Angeles was no problem as we had been staying in the area for a few days. After dropping our Hertz car at Long Beach Airport a helpful Hertz guy got ... Read More
Review of Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 12-26 February 2006 Embarkation at Los Angeles was no problem as we had been staying in the area for a few days. After dropping our Hertz car at Long Beach Airport a helpful Hertz guy got us a shuttle bus to share with two other Cruise Critic members going on the same cruise, so we were there in no time and put faces to two Cruise Critic friends on the way. The lines at the terminal were quite long but we were on the ship and dropping our carry on bags in our cabins just after 1pm. My wife and I were in inside cabin 3071 on Plaza Deck and our friend travelling on her own was in the adjacent cabin 3067. We discovered that 3067 is alongside a staff access door that leads behind the cabin to a working/storage area and a metal staircase. Staff running up and down the staircase late at night and early in the morning sound like thunder in these cabins, but particularly in 3067. 3067 also suffers from noisy early morning staff activity in the storage/working area but this is not evident in 3071. After being woken at around 6am by the noise we complained. According to our cabin stewards notices were put up asking staff to take care to avoid noise. This had no effect. A second complaint resulted in more notices but we were still being woken up. On being woken at 6.10am again I rang guest services immediately whereas we had previously gone there on our way to breakfast. This resulted in parts of the area being taped off and staff were instructed not to use the access door adjacent to 3067 at night. We were each sent a bottle of wine and basket of fruit by Guest Services who also offered us a change of cabins further down the corridor, but we decided to see what effect the new regime had before facing the hassle of packing and moving. While there was occasional noise it was muted and we were never woken again. Ironically the cabins were exceptionally well insulated from noise in the corridors or between cabins. The cabin was quite spacious, with the beds arranged as a queen as we had requested, with a two drawer bedside unit on either side of the bed. There was a dressing table on one side of the cabin and a small two-seater convertible sofa on the opposite side. Then came the two double wardrobes, which were opposite the bathroom. There was a safe inside one of the wardrobes. The television and fridge were in an angled section of the wardrobe nearest the dressing table. We managed to find room for two weeks worth of clothes in the space provided, though with nothing to spare. Our cabin steward Sofyan from Indonesia and his assistant Godfrey from India kept the cabin spotlessly clean and were both very friendly. We had requested first sitting for dinner and were on table 529 on the higher level of the dining room. It was a table for six, though there were only ever five of us, my wife and I, our friend and Frank and his wife Yolande from Detroit. Sadly one of their cases went astray on the flight to LA and it never caught up with them. Our waiter Lloyd from India and his assistant Arnold were excellent and very friendly, which is more than could be said for the wine waiter. This was our third cruise on Celebrity so the menus and food no longer had the wow factor of our first Celebrity cruise but were nevertheless very enjoyable, even if spoiled as we have been there often seemed to be only one thing we fancied each night. We prefer to have breakfast and lunch at the buffet. The breakfast choices are a delight, especially the waffles. Lunch however, like our cruise on Galaxy last summer seems to cater more for those wanting yet another hot meal rather than those wanting cold choices. Fortunately the Aquaspa Cafe offered a small rotating selection of additional cold menu choices. In our view Celebrity still doesnt do as good a buffet as Holland America, even though it beats it hands down for the evening dining room food. The ship itself is spacious and attractively decorated and furnished with some whimsical artwork and statues. I discovered that I could use my wireless notebook anywhere in the Grand Foyer atrium to check my e-mail and the satellite connection was surprisingly fast. The Bar at the Edge of The Earth on deck 11 at the bow of the ship is its forward observation lounge, but its Cirque de Soleil beds diminish the available seating for busy times like going through the Panama Canal locks. The lounge was only used once for a Cirque de Soleil White Masquerade Party during the 14-night voyage. It is sometimes used for ballroom dancing, but is mainly used at nights as the disco. We spent more time in the Rendezvous Lounge on the Promenade Deck where a ballroom dancing duo or band could be found every night and where the two dance hosts were available to dance with unaccompanied ladies like our friend. We also enjoyed Paul Strowe singing to his own guitar accompaniment by the pool in the day and outdoors on the rear Lido deck at night. Like our cruise on Galaxy last summer we found the entertainment to be a mixed bag. The four production shows were superb, as was the first nights show by two of the production shows lead singers, the ventriloquist and the local Mexican Folkloric troupe in Acapulco. We failed to find a seat for the comedian as my wife was having a winning streak on the slots in the casino. The sound on the third level balcony was rather unclear but it was better lower down but we didnt feel like standing for the rest of the comedians show. The Cirque de Soleil show was disappointing. In fact the aerial artists in the production show Alex & Sally were far better than the Cirque de Soleil show. Then there were four instrumentalists, which is too many for our tastes, no matter how talented they are. We would rather have had a little more variety such as a magician and a solo vocalist. Ports: Cabo San Lucas: This is a small but fast growing town at the southern tip of the California Baja Peninsular. It is set on a beautiful bay with the famous Les Arches rock formation (also called Lands End) marking the meeting of the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. We took a ships tour of the area that took us along the coast to the supposedly less commercialised town of San Jose del Cabo. Like Cabo there are lots of condos and hotels being built and it will soon be just another tourist haunt, but for now it does still have some semblance of an old Mexican town. Acapulco: Set on a huge bay with mountains behind, Acapulco is a big city by comparison to all the other ports of call. We took the city tour that included the not-to-be-missed cliff divers. The city spreads for over 4 miles along the beaches in the bay. We enjoyed the visit but we are not city people so it is bigger than we prefer. We sailed from Acapulco at 11pm, which gave us a beautiful view of the twinkling lights of the city all the way up the mountains surrounding the bay. Huatulco: This is one of our two favourite ports. It was originally a small fishing village that is now the location chosen by the Mexican government to develop an ecological tourist destination covering 27 miles of coastline. One third of the entire area is to be a nature reserve and no buildings are allowed to exceed 6 stories high. The whole area that we visited on a ships tour is beautiful, both naturally and in the quality of the development. If you want to see it at its best go soon because by 2030 the Mexican government expect it to be bigger than Cancun. Puntarenas: We had expected more of this port of call after hearing how prosperous Cost Rica is compared to most Central and South American countries, but we were disappointed. The overwhelming impression was of garbage everywhere. It was a Sunday and the beach by the jetty was thronged with locals who seemed to delight in dropping garbage everywhere, despite plenty of bins to put it in. There were craft and souvenir stalls along the boardwalk at the back of the beach and we strolled among them looking at the goods on offer. The stallholders were very friendly and not at all pushy so it was a pleasant way of spending an hour or so, but the dirty condition of the town didnt encourage us to linger. All the ships tours were far too long to appeal to us, so after our stroll ashore we enjoyed a lazy day on the ship. Panama Canal: This was the purpose of the trip and it lived up to our wildest expectations. It is difficult to convey how fascinating it is to see it in real life and to take in what a colossal undertaking it was to build it ninety-nine years ago. I had read David McCulloughs book The Path Between The Seas  The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870 -1914 before the trip, (as I would advise anyone to do before making the canal cruise). So I knew the history of the 33 years of effort by the French and the Americans and the 25,000 lives that it cost to build it, but experiencing it gave it a whole new dimension. We went on deck before 6.30am so we could see Summit go under the Bridge of the Americas. The sun was just rising, reflecting off the skyscrapers of Panama City. Then we entered the first of the two locks at Miraflores at about 7.15am. After Miraflores we sailed the short distance to the Pedro Miguel lock which raised us the last step to enter the eight-mile passage through the mountains. The mountains looked surprisingly low, but this had been and remains the most difficult part of the construction effort. Landslides continue to this day, such is the unstable nature of the soil and rock in this area in the wet season. Then we arrived at Gatun Lake. Those going on shore excursions were tendered off about 2pm and the ship anchored for over two hours awaiting our 4.20pm slot through the three Gatun Locks. We came out of the final lock at 6.15pm just as we were starting dinner. The ship berthed at Cristobal at 7.15pm and after finishing dinner we went ashore to explore the craft and souvenir shops in the Duty Free area by the berth, bring to an end our long but fascinating day in Panama. Aruba: This was our other favourite port. It is so clean with pretty Dutch style architecture and the people are so friendly. We walked into town the short distance from the berth, which was right by the marina in Oranjestad. The walk by the marina was punctuated by stops at the many craft and souvenir stalls where we made a contribution to the local economy. Then we found the pretty boardwalk that took us in front of the Radisson Hotel to their private beach before exploring the stores in the Seaport Marketplace by the hotel. The Radisson is on both sides of the road so we crossed to the side away from the beach to explore the Renaissance Mall that is an extension of the hotel. After taking pictures of the Dutch style buildings we also explored the Royal Plaza Mall before heading back to the ship. We were amazed to realise that we had been happily exploring for four hours though we did have two coffee stops during that time! In summary it was a very enjoyable cruise. No cruise line we have been on so far is perfect, and we have experienced eight different ones on fifteen cruises, but Celebrity, despite its faults is the nearest to perfect for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
This was our 5th cruise but first with Celebrity. Our experience has been with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean in the past. My wife and I are in our early 50s from Central Maine. I am in Sales and my wife works in human resources. We ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise but first with Celebrity. Our experience has been with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean in the past. My wife and I are in our early 50s from Central Maine. I am in Sales and my wife works in human resources. We generally take a Cruise in our slow winter months enjoying warm weather climates. We arrived in LA at 10am in a massive rain storm. Winds were fierce and it was evident this was not the norm for the area. We hired a town car out of Road Runner Shuttle to meet us and transport us directly to the port (we found the cost to be slightly higher than other methods of transfer, but well worth it). The driver was entertaining and skillful at negotiating the traffic and flooded ramps off the highway to the port by 11am. Arriving at his time would normally be OK but because of the weather and high winds we found the port to be disorganized. Apparently the gangway was twisted by the winds and caused a long delay in passengers disembarking. Arriving passengers was forced to wait outside in adverse weather waiting to board. Embarkation: 1 Star due mostly to Los Angeles Port Authority and adverse weather. We found the Summit to be very clean and comfortable with lots of space, never seeming crowded. It didnt have the WOW factor that the Royal Caribbean Ships has but is a beautiful ship and very clean (4 stars). We boarded the Summit at 3pm finding our stateroom #9144 was all that was promised. Very nicely laid out with plenty of storage, nice balcony and very clean. Best cabin yet for the money (5 stars)! Edwin our cabin attendant was outstanding! We departed LA at midnight (6 hours late). We woke up the next morning to a very rough cruise. I swear the stabilizers were not in operation. We were looking for the seat belts for the bed. I have been on 4 previous cruises and never sick. This was the exception. I couldnt keep down the sea sickness pills that were being handed out like candy to most passengers. Be aware, this is apparently normal for this time of year heading out of LA to Hawaii. Be prepared! The rough seas continued for 3 days but the pills kicked in on the 2nd day, and my voyage improved greatly. Edwin, our cabin attendant really paid attention to me and my sickness, catering to every request with real concern for my health. The return cruise sea days were just fine. We ate great dinners in the Cosmopolitan dining room (table for 2) and had Carlos as our head water, and Bond his assistant. Both were very attentive and catered to every request with such pleasure. Both had a great sense of humor. Meals in the dining room were outstanding! Good selection and always cooked to perfection and served hot. I rate the Cosmopolitan (5 stars). We did try the Normandy one night and did not find it worth the extra fee. We enjoyed the Cosmopolitan and company of the neighboring tables the best choice of the restaurants. Luncheon buffets in the Waterfall Cafe (4 stars) were good but not great. Pizza was very good. Burgers at the Waterfall Grill was also good. We went to most every show and found the entertainment and theater outstanding. The comedian was great, the Broadway style production shows was the best we have found on any ship. There was very comfortable seating with good views. Rating 5 stars! Casino: Very typical for a Cruise Ship (3 Stars). It did seem to be paying out better than previous cruises. We found the Wheel of Fortune Slot that seemed to be paying off very well. Fellow gamblers were friendly, talkative and helpful in the Casino. Dealers tended not to be as helpful or talkative. Shore Excursions: Secrets of Puna, Hilo (4 ½ Stars) very informative female guides on the Volcano and Lava fields and they took us in a GMC Yukon XL luxury SUV into areas you would never consider but did enjoy once you arrived. We did do some snorkeling in fresh water/salt water inlet. You did learn a lot of history on the volcanic activity of the island. Explore the North Shore, Honolulu (2 Stars) this excursion you are bused to the north shore and visit the Dole Plantation. We did get to see a large sea turtle and Surfing. This was a somewhat boring excursion. Valley Waterfall Hiking Adventure, Kailua Kona (5 stars) very informative and entertaining guide takes you by 4x4 up a mountain in very rough muddy terrain to a 3 mile hike on a nice mountain trail up an older volcano to explore amazing waterfalls, plant life and animals along with an overview of the Hawaiian language and culture. Fellow passengers: The friendliest we have experienced but also the oldest. Average age on this cruise is late 60s. Complainers were seldom noticed once we were over the rough seas. Most everyone we found to be very pleased with their experience. A ship full of complaining people can ruin an entire voyage for everybody. Basically, this ship is beautiful. The ship is in great shape. Cold towels and juice when you return from a port is great. Cushions on deck chairs are nice. Service is amazing; they really mean being Treated Famously. All of Summits employees seem to love their job, friendly and take a personable interest in your experience. It really feels like they want to help you and give you great service, not like they have to. At 91,000 tons, the Summit only has 1950 passengers and close to 1000 employees. This ship never seems to be crowded and crew members are always available for any request. Overall I give this experience 4 ½ stars and most likely higher if it wasnt for the rough seas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
This was a 14 day round trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back on Celebritys Summit with 3 of my cousins and their husbands We had 4 sea days going and coming. Our plan was to arrive a day early just in case of inclement weather in ... Read More
This was a 14 day round trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back on Celebritys Summit with 3 of my cousins and their husbands We had 4 sea days going and coming. Our plan was to arrive a day early just in case of inclement weather in Chicago, but all of our flights were on time. We arrived in LA to worse weather than we left behind in Chicago, a bit warmer but raining. We stayed at the Hyatt Long Beach and met my cousins there for a drink in the lobby bar once we had all arrived on our different flights. We were all very excited and talking about our upcoming cruise. We also got to see our friends, Tom & Pam who live in San Pedro, and they treated us to for a lovely dinner that night. By the time we got to bed @ 1 AM-Chicago time, we had been up for 21 hrs. We didnt find out until after we got back that the Hyatt had wanted to bump us to another hotel because they had 3 conventions and needed the rooms. Our travel agent, Donna refused to let them move us and talked to the hotel manager who finally relented and let us stay there. That explained the complimentary bottle of wine and the note in our ship cabins apologizing for the inconvenience from Hyatt. Apparently several people were moved to the other facility and they still had our names on the list. Our cabins all had a balcony which was really cool to sit out on and enjoy the view both at sea and while in port. The first night out and the first day were quite bouncy and 2 of my cousins became ill. It turned out that Marilyn had a serious sinus infection and was treated by the ships doc. The medical facility was quite busy as 90% of the passengers were over 70. (If I thought this crowd was old, I guess the last one was even older. Even the comedian made a joke that the last group consisted of very old people and their parents.) The nurse told Marilyn that there was a lot of pneumonia on the ship. I was holding my breath anytime someone got on the elevator and started coughing. The food was superb as always and they have expanded the options for you to stuff yourself. It was lets belly up to the trough one more time. For breakfast, they had 4 buffet lines going and someone on each side making omelets and eggs to order. In the back by the casual dining area, there were waffles and pancakes available 8-10 am. This caused quite a backlog as there was only one waffle maker and people did not want to wait. Lunch was a specialty buffet on the port side on sea days and a station to make your own sandwich in the casual dining area. They actually made it for you according to your directions. They also had French fries which were quite good. The specialty buffets were ok but the only one that looked appealing was the American with fried chicken and corn on the cob. The Chinese buffet was said to be good but I never got to it. The Mexican that I did try was pretty bland for tacos, without any real taste to them. Also on each side was a pasta station which got a good work-out. Also from Noon to 10 pm was pizza on the far starboard side. You could design you own pizza but they always had some made up to try. It was ok, but the crust was really lacking in taste. The Spa Cafe by the Thalassotherapy pool was very good for light choices for breakfast and lunch. As usual, the pool grill had hot dogs, hamburgers and a specialty choice of those each day. They did have the best pickles I have ever eaten. Since we were changing time going and coming people were constantly adjusting to the new time but the ship stuck to their schedule and by 11 am only one buffet line was open for breakfast and it was usually quite crowded as was the omelet station. Forget about the waffles, it closed at 10 am, damn the passengers who slept in. Dinner was at late seating and I think this will be the last time we will do it that way. Since most of the late seating shows were at 7:00, when you were done eating it was go to the casino or to bed. No one wanted to hit the sheets with a full stomach. I was still on Chicago time the first few days and was waking up at 5 AM ship time. I thought that I would be the only one in the gym when it opened at 6 AM, but everyone else was up too. We were religious about working out every day in the well-equipped gym and finally found that going at 9-9:30 AM was the best time to get a machine. The day we pulled into Hilo (which was our first stop) we could see whales surfacing in front of us as we walked on the treadmills. The gym is at the top of the ship in the front so you have the Captains-eye view as you pull into port. In Hilo we did the Circle of Fire and Waterfalls Helicopter tour so we saw the active volcanoes and the lava pouring into the ocean. Very cool. We have the video so we can bore all of our friends. They make you get on a scale at the dock so as to balance the load in the aircraft and then the bus took us to the airport. If you can stand the humiliation, it is a great tour. If you are thin, no problem. We also bought an orchid lei at the airport which was only $6. I did wear it for at least 4 days. I never thought to stick it in the fridge in the room to keep it fresh. On our last trip to Hawaii, we boarded in Honolulu and everyone received an orchid lei. This didnt happen on this trip. Maybe it was because that trip in 2002 was Celebritys first trip to Hawaii. We had already seen Pearl Harbor the last time so we tried to go to see the Polynesian Cultural Center but we were too late for a tour and the rental cars were all taken. Here you should probably take the ships tour. We really had no idea how far away this attraction was. The taxi driver quoted us $120 one way! So I ended up shopping and walking around Honolulu for part of the day. You cant believe how you are sweating and how hot you feel and it probably was only 82 degrees. The historical section is walking distance from the pier and so is Chinatown. Considering we were there from 7 am to 11 pm, we should have seen a lot more. The cousins did go see Pearl Harbor, the Missouri battleship and the Bowfin submarine. They left the ship about 7:45 and didnt get back until almost 4:00. So no matter what you do, it is time consuming and you will not see everything you want to see. There isnt too much to see in Kauai but the beach is walking distance from the pier and the waves were great. There are only ships tours here to be had. I wish we had done the helicopter tour here or gone to see Waimea Canyon. I guess we will have to put that down for a future cruise. We tendered ashore at Kona and did the requisite shopping at Hilo Hatties. Karl bought me a beautiful black Tahitian pearl slide to go on my omega chain. What a nice surprise! I was not expecting anything at all. The cousins hit Hilo Hatties at every stop. They did have the best prices on Aloha wear and other souvenirs. Maui was our last stop and I went whale watching with Captain Steves tours. I was too late to get on the ships excursion but I remembered reading about this excursion so I called from Honolulu on my cell phone and got directions to Mala wharf. Good thing I took a cab there as I would never have found it by myself. That cab ride for a 5 minute trip cost me over $7 but it was worth it as there was no signs indicating where you were or that Captain Steve came there. Our vehicle was a zodiac boat that seated 24 and all the other passengers were from resorts. I was the only one off the ship. We saw lots of whales and they came quite close to the boat. I think we saw more whales than the people who took the Pacific Whale Foundation tour from the ship. This boat was more maneuverable and able to go to the whales location easier. They really want you to see a lot and tell others. The entertainment was certainly the best I have ever seen on a cruise. Its seems that they pull out the stops on the longer cruises. There were three big production shows with very talented singers and dancers. The featured acts were all great, especially Pearl Kaufman, a pianist, Taste of Cirque du Soleil, Jeri Sager, singer, & Jeff Nease, comedian. The one thing they could have done was bring back the entertainers for an afternoon show. On the sea days that would have been very well attended. I think they might have had an afternoon show by the dulcimer player, Ping Xu, but we would have skipped that one. We saw him on our Alaska cruise and he played the same songs he played 3 yrs ago! The Celebrity Orchestra was outstanding. What a bunch of very talented guys. The casino was pretty well attended also and I cant complain since I won $1300 playing 3-card Poker over the 14 days. My cousin won about $800 on different slot machines and we all won playing Bingo with prizes from $90-140. I won $100 early in the cruise and Karl won $140 the last morning. That put us even on Bingo until that evening when I won the big prize of $3400 which I had to share with another lady. That was just the frosting on the cake! All of my cousins were my cheering section. (I was wondering who was cheering and applauding since everyone around me looked very unhappy.) The family joke was that Karl had to book me on the next cruise so I wouldnt have to get off the boat and break my winning streak. This was a really great cruise and it looks like Celebrity has a winner with these round trips that spare you the long flight from your home city to Honolulu. Getting home was easy since we are all in Chicago and didnt have to change planes to continue our trip. Picked up all the luggage, called the limo and we were home and back to reality after 2 weeks of luxury. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
My wife and I have sailed on Celebrity cruises before but this was our first on the Summit. Overall this was an excellent cruise and we would not hesitate to sail on the Summit again. We are professionals in our mid-50s and I would ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed on Celebrity cruises before but this was our first on the Summit. Overall this was an excellent cruise and we would not hesitate to sail on the Summit again. We are professionals in our mid-50s and I would estimate that we were at or slightly under the mean age of our fellow passengers. As expected on a 13 night cruise in January, there were few children aboard. We flew from JFK to Long Beach on Jet Blue, which in my opinion is far and away the best of the low-cost airlines. Embarkation was problematic, not through any fault of Celebrity, but as a result of damage to the gangway at the Port of Los Angeles due to high winds. Since we sailed on a holiday (January 2nd) the port was not able to repair the problem and that resulted in long delays in boarding and in loading luggage. There was much complaining among the passengers but those complaints seemed to me to be directed toward the wrong party. Celebrity has no control of the port or the dock and once onboard we were treated wonderfully. If the Port of LA wants to increase cruise ship traffic, as is their stated aim, then they need to be more attentive to the needs of those customers. A delay that would not be a problem for a cargo ship is a big deal to passengers waiting to board their cruise. I hope other passengers did as I did and wrote a letter of complaint directly to the commissioner of the LA Port Authority. Once on board the service was top notch: Friendly with out being familiar, professional with out being stiff. We are used to that from our waiters, but we found it true with all of the ships personnel. We also noted an abundance of supervisor personnel, at the buffet for example, and they not only made sure that things went smoothly they jumped in to help when it was appropriate. Food is always a big issue on a cruise and I think the Summit does a fine job. Dining in the Cosmopolitan restaurant was a delightful experience with good food and outstanding service. The beef ranked among the best I have ever had. Of course, some items were not as good as others, but overall the standard was high. I sometimes think that we pass angers need to keep in mind that on a cruise the kitchen is preparing 1900 meals, far more than any top flight restaurant would prepare in a week, and yet they do so with a high level of quality. So, I agree with those who say that the food on the Summit is not equivalent to a 5-star restaurant, but it is of very high standard and really did provide us with a most enjoyable dining experience. I should also mention that the wine list was adequate and had some very interesting choices at prices that were the equivalent of shore-based restaurants (which is still too high, but that is another issue. Our wine steward as knowledgeable and actually recommended a less expensive wine after we discussed our preferences with him. We did not try either the casual dining venue or the specialty dining room, since we were completely satisfied with the experience in the Cosmopolitan restaurant. The Summit is a lovely ship, with art everywhere, and generally very well maintained. We did notice some wear and tear on chairs and upholstery in the lounges and bars. Every aspect of the ship was sparking clean and well kept, including fresh flowers in the public restrooms. Our cabin was the lowest class ocean view, which is fine with us as we dont plan to spend much time in the cabin except to sleep. It was standard, but big enough and well designed. This was a 13 night cruise with only four port days in Hawaii. We booked this cruise for exactly that experience, we look forward to relaxing at sea, reading and listing to music, talking and just enjoying a break from the hectic world. If you want excitement, rock climbing, constant activities and a jammed disco every night you will not find it on the Summit. We heard from several passengers that there were too many sea days, a complaint that surprises me since the itinerary was clear. If you didnt want to spend that much time at sea why did you book this particular cruise? There were the standard at sea activities, most of which we ignored, but the lectures were of the highest caliber and were a daily highlight. We love the absence of annoying PA announcements on Celebrity, but heard some complaints that more information would have been appreciated. Hawaii was lovely, and we agree with many of our companions that more time ashore, especially at Kona, would be nice. We booked shore excursions, which were generally good (esp. to the volcano on the Big Island) but, as usual, over priced. Extending this to a 15 night cruise, with two more days in the islands would really appeal to us. Debarkation was a breeze, far the most efficient we have encountered. Overall this was an excellent cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
WOW! That is the best word I can think of to sum up the total cruise to Hawaii on the Summit. The ship was lovely, BIG, and very clean. We had a Concierge Class cabin number 9102. We loved having breakfast on the balcony from the expanded ... Read More
WOW! That is the best word I can think of to sum up the total cruise to Hawaii on the Summit. The ship was lovely, BIG, and very clean. We had a Concierge Class cabin number 9102. We loved having breakfast on the balcony from the expanded breakfast menu for Concierge Class only. They set it up on your balcony with tablecloths and everything, just like the dining room. The food was good, hot and came on time. Room service was very fast and the best out of all 17 cruises that we have taken. The nice extras that you get in Concierge Class was worth the extra price. We will always choose this class on our future cruises. Some of the little extras are, Fresh fruit everyday. Extra nice bedding and towels. Flowers in the sitting area and the bathroom was a very nice touch. Priority tender passes in the ports where you have to tender is worth the extra price, you get to go before anybody else, straight to the head of the line. Really loved that one as we had a very short time in Kona and didn't have to wait. Four o'clock every night Canapes were delivered to the room. Nice to have with cocktails before dinner. On past postings people have said that they didn't like them, all I can say is those persons are not gourmets. No need to pack a hairdryer as there are 2 in the room. The shower was larger than in most bathrooms in the past. There was plenty of closet and places to unpack for the 13 night cruise. You might want to bring extra hangers for the longer cruises. There is a mini bar/frig thing stocked with liquor and soda. We took everything out of it and just used it to keep our soda and water that we brought on with us cold. The balcony is a nice size and has a clear glass wall so your view is not blocked. Salt spray builds up on it, but you can have your room stewart clean it. Enough about the room, lets move on to the food. The buffet was nice. There is 2 sides to it and the main item on each side was different so make sure you walk each side before getting in line. The Summit has many different serving stations. Pizza, Pasta, waffles and pancakes, omelette, deli type sub sandwiches, pastries, Ice cream (which is all made on the ship and really good. The sherbets are a most to have),sushi, healthy food from the Spa CAfe, and last but not least the Grill where you can get hotdogs and hamburgers and some of the best fries around. The Normandie Restaurant is a most for at least one night. It was a 5 star plus. The food was tasty and service great. The main dining room food was good, but I think they could do a little better on presentation. We didn't use the dining room for breakfast as we had it in our room or at the buffet. We did have lunch there and it was good. We loved the buffet for lunch as we liked to spend our time by the pool and didn't have to change clothes for it, just use a coverup over your swimwear. The dinning room has a dress code for all meals. Shore excursions had a lot to pick from or you could just wait till you got into port and find something on your own on the dock. They are lots of free shuttles to different shopping places. The shows were great and there was something for everyone. They even have a movie theater. You can also charge in room movies, which I liked. They have CNN and TNT so you can always find something to watch on TV if you were having a lazy day in your room. I can't say enough good about this cruise. Just remember that the 4 days at sea will be a little rough during the winter months, so be prepared for some rocking and rolling, both on the way over and the way back. Just want to close with saying we are in our late 50's and we had a great time. There was lots of things to do all day long, or you could do nothing. We had a bad time on embarkation, but it was the ports fault as they had a power failure and the ramp would not work. This was not the fault of the cruise line. So book this cruise and enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
Summit Review Jan 29-Feb 12, 2006 To Hawaii and Back! This is likely to be long so Ill use headings to help you skip to parts that may interest you. OUR BACKGROUND -- This was our second cruise, our first being on Royal Caribbean last ... Read More
Summit Review Jan 29-Feb 12, 2006 To Hawaii and Back! This is likely to be long so Ill use headings to help you skip to parts that may interest you. OUR BACKGROUND -- This was our second cruise, our first being on Royal Caribbean last year to the Mexican Riv. We are 40 and 41, not partiers or drinkers but we do love good company, music, food and due to living in Northern Canada we especially love the sun! We were joined by my parents, both 63 who enjoyed their 4th cruise. PRECRUISE -- We arrived a day early as per everyones advice and once again stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn LAX. Their shuttle met us minutes after we called for it and delivered us to their lovely hotel. Again, we were duly impressed with the cleanliness, and friendliness of this establishment. After settling in, their shuttle driver took us to Manhattan Beach where we did the usual touristy adventure of walking the pier, watching surfers, looking in a few little shops and then enjoying a scrumptious dinner at Rock N Fish. Dont miss their roasted corn and crab cakes. We had arranged for the Hiltons shuttle driver to pick us up again, which he did. We tipped him generously and agreed it was much more convenient and pleasant than taking a cab. After enjoying the Hiltons complimentary, huge, warm, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, soaking in their hot tub and checking our e-mail in their complimentary office (which was loaded with complimentary office supplies) we went to bed. Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, so we walked to Ralphs groceries and stocked up on some Diet Coke (which we later carried on in our hand luggage with no problem at all) and a few things we had forgotten, then walked back for a delicious complimentary buffet breakfast. Did I mention that I like this Hotel? We had called Golden West Express the night before to arrange for an 11:30 pick up to take us to San Pedro. We requested a van due to the copious amounts of luggage we had. Cost was $58 plus tip. ARRIVAL AT SAN PEDRO -- We arrived at 12:00 and wondered what we were in for! As it turned out Summit had arrived late due to fog, so the disembarking passengers were still there  trying to get cabs, porters etc  as well, Vision of the Seas and an Oceania Ship were in port. My husband is persistent, big and friendly and in no time we had a porter taking very good care of us with our huge pile of luggage. Remember a smile and a tip go a long way. There were some grumpy and mean people there that day and they were not getting porters. The line to board looked a mile long but it was a lovely day and we were on holidays so who could complain? Eventually the line reached a tent that offered shade and a few chairs for the elderly, then we reached security and finally Celebrity check-in. We had done the online paperwork and honestly I dont know how it could have been quicker. We had a second line to go in being we are Canadian but that only took a couple minutes. We then had our picture taken, but had to wait again in another line up to actually board the ship. I think that was because Celebrity likes to have someone take you to your room, which takes extra time. If everyone herded on the ship like a pack of wild elephants it would likely be quicker. FIRST HOURS ON BOARD and ROOM 6018 -- We were offered a lovely drink upon boarding, were delivered to our room which was ready and dropped off our hand luggage. Room 6018 is very far forward and is one of the secret rooms with an extra large balcony. It is the middle of three rooms that are surrounded by the metal cladding that youll notice if you look at a picture of the Millennium class ships. I was worried about the metal cladding interfering with sunlight and our view but this was unfounded. I was also worried about the motion from being so far forward however I cant comment on this because our sailing was virtually like glass all the way there and back. Finally, it had been mentioned that staying so far forward meant a lot of walking to get anywhere. Perhaps, but this didnt hurt us. The theatre was right below us which was handy in the evenings. We will definitely book one of these rooms again and would not hesitate to book 6018. The room was spotless, roomy and there were plenty of hangers although I had brought skirt hangers from home which I used. There are loads of drawers and shelves. The washroom was roomy and the shower big enough to do the hula if you so desire. Lots of shelves here too. Some have mentioned mold, cracked tiles, and worn upholstery but we saw none of that in our room. After a little walk around a spotless ship, we headed to the delicious buffet. Walking through the pool area, the loungers were still vacant and had been aligned using a rope, so they were in perfect rows! Each lounger had a perfectly folded yellow towel on it. The care in which this area was prepared was stunning! All the staff were most pleasant everywhere we went, particularly in the buffet and we found the buffet to be a definite step up from Royal Caribbeans. This cruise was off to a good start& and it got better. FOOD  ROOM SERVICE AND BUFFET -- Everyone asks about the food on a cruise, so Ill get right to the point. We ordered room service every morning for our pre-breakfast/ breakfast (juice and coffee, - ok a Danish too). It arrived promptly every time, was hot, cold or however it was meant to be! Dont order anything else for breakfast though! Twice we tried the eggs, bacon etc and they were absolutely terrible. My parents had the very same experience. The eggs were in a puddle of sludge and the bacon in a slick of grease. Really gross. After a workout we would rush to the buffet before 10:00 when the waffle station closed. These waffles are melt in your mouth fantastic. With cherries and yogurt, it is divine. My family loved the fresh danish, made to order omelets, and the fresh fruit but the rest was fairly ordinary buffet fair. What more can you ask than fresh waffles and fresh omelets? My only complaint is the coffee. It was hard to get it hot and those dumb little cups are useless. I suggest bringing your own full size insulated coffee mug. The room service coffee and juice was far superior to the buffets. LUNCH BUFFET We intended to try the dining room for lunch, but honestly the buffet was lovely for lunch and therefore we never made it to the dining room. On Royal C. we were sick of the buffet almost right away and ended up eating most of our meals in the dining room. Not so on the Summit! There was a daily theme buffet down one side of the buffet and a usual lunch buffet down the other side. Some of the themes I remember were, Mexican, American, Oriental, and Hawaiian. The Pasta Bar kept calling my name but I never made it. I did however, make it to the Home Made Pizza Station, the Sandwich Deli and the Caesar Salad Station  no complaints, except that I gained 7 lbs in 14 days. SPA CAFÉ  At the THALASSOTHERAPY POOL is amazing. Apparently the staff from the Normandy work there during the day (??). If only I had eaten there all the time. The food is low fat, low cal and amazing. It is presented beautifully and couldnt be yummier. The only problem is that there arent very many tables to sit at so sometimes you end up wandering quite a ways with your tray. The coffee there is terrible though  dont bother. THE NORMANDY is the specialty restaurant. It costs $30 each, and you need to make reservations  DONT miss it. Much has been said about the goat cheese soufflE which I would never have even taken a second glance at had it not been for cruise critics high recommendation it is all it is praised to be. We were surprised with a lovely smoked salmon and caviar treat to start with, then the soufflE, then my mom and I shared the Chateau Briand  perfect. My dh and pop had the lamb which they said was the best they had ever had. Then the cheese course, then the dessert. We went for the six mini desserts. I wish we could have just taken a doggy bag but that just didnt seem right! We were soooo stuffed. THEN, came the petit fours. We did not do the wine pairing which is 5 glasses of wine (each) to go along with your meal for another $30 and is a terrific value they said. While Im sure it is great value, I would not be able to find my room afterwards if I had 5 glasses of wine, value or not! THE COSMOPOLITAN DINING ROOM -- We were at a table for 6 and were ironically seated with Joe and Judy the very best couple ever to sit with  we knew them from CruiseCritic so could hardly believe that with 2300 others on the ship we were seated with them! I did love a table for 6 although we had asked for a table for 8. Conversation was intimate and service was terrific. Our meal however always seemed to be really, really slow coming and dinner took 2 ½ hours every night. That was fine being we were in good company but if you were anxious to get on with the evening you might have been become annoyed  we love the leisurely time to visit. Celebrity Secrets Thread suggests many hot tips that we enjoyed: Shrimp cocktails nightly and a plate of blue cheese to go along with salads every night (thanks a lot Judy, now we are all addicted!! ;) & fresh berries with dessert every night, Crème Brulee kindly made special just for us, andplainsalmon for me one night when I just didnt feel like anything else on the menu. I didnt feel that meals were superior to Royal C but certainly they were great. I did get a little tired of saucy things but that is the problem with a two week cruise  such a problem to have! Desserts were fine  the only outstanding menu item was the Crème Brulee. However, the Cherries Jubilee was just heated up Cherry pie filling! Not to complain though, we waddled away from the table every night and many times our waiter insisted that we try several desserts! Meat is on the rare side so order accordingly, pork was very tough both times I had it, salmon was delish, chicken ordinary, lamb gross (but my husband absolutely loves lamb and said it was amazing!!!). Other fish was always moist and tender. Soups were hot and tasty  however is mint pea not a little weird? The cold soups seemed like melted ice cream or like juice to me but each to their own. The Corn Carolina was amazing. The salad dressings are great, especially Celebrity dressing. My dh just likes a plate of lettuce which he then doctored it up with blue cheese and dressing. They brought this for him each night. COVA CAFÉ is a lovely coffee house where the string quartet plays and where you have to pay for your coffee. A latte is $2.50 and comes with a yummy wrapped chocolate. Although it seemed rather dumb to pay for coffee when I could walk a ways and get one for free elsewhere, as I have mentioned it was hard to get a good cup of coffee on this ship, and this was good coffee. Plus there was the lovely ambiance. In the afternoon there are beautiful cookies, which are complimentary (and pastries in the mornings). Just before dinner they pass around hors dd'oeuvres as well (sometimes). Do not miss the quartet. CASUAL DINING is more than it sounds  it is something you make reservations for and takes place in the buffet area, however you sit at white tablecloth covered tables and have your order taken. It is a 4 course meal and 3 different menus rotate. This was my BEST meal. I had the salmon dinner and it was marvelous. I would have eaten here every night but our dinner companions Joe and Judy were so lovely we hated to miss them in the main dining room  as well our waiters in the dining room were great. The waiters in the Casual Dining seemed to be understudies for the main dining room and they tried really, really hard but were real nervous. We enjoyed them too. The dress code is casual (surprise, surprise) and therefore this venue is very popular after a day in port. Our day at Kauai was followed by a Formal Night  rather a nuisance if you ask me  so casual dining was booked right up. Call a few hours ahead and remember to let them know in the main dining room that you wont be there. ENTERTAINMENT  Being younger than the average age by about 20+ years, we expected the entertainment to be a little slow for us and we were in fact correct. That is not to say we didnt enjoy it. When we filled out our comment cards rating each evenings show, we surprised ourselves when we realized we had filled out 11 excellent! There were 4 Broadway productions which were 3 too many for me  however& their costumes and dancing skill are a sight to behold. Pearl Kaufmann, pianist for over 250 movies, gave us two shows, as did Ping Xing Xu a dulcimer player. The comedian was certainly very funny as was the Newly Wed- Nearly Dead game. The very best show was on the last night, Darren Williams and his Poparatic Program. How he can sing Phantom and sound like all three parts including imitating Sarah Brightman perfectly is just amazing. I hadnt expected much out of the Talent show but I was pleasantly surprised at how talented our fellow guests were  put me to shame for sure. If you are a night owl, dont expect much to be happening after 11:30. We just loved the pianist/ singer in Michaels Club, but he shut down at 11:30, as did the quartet at the Cova Cafe. We arent dancers/drinkers but the one night we went to the Bar at the Edge of the Earth, the Karaoke was really, really bad and it shut down shortly after 12:00 due to lack of interest! Speaking of the Edge  it is a really interesting bar area decorated seemingly in an underwater ?? theme.  however there are beds and cushions here and there  for what purpose, Ill let you decide. Many have said it is ugly, but I beg to differ. It is just different. PUBLIC AREAS  An understated elegance best describes the ship. The Centrum is not nearly as breathtaking as that of The Vision of the Seas  but lovely just the same. The Art Work aboard has been called controversial. Different and unusual, it is, however there was nothing that offended my tender sensibilities. The Casino never seemed very busy and not nearly as smoky as on the Vision where I would walk outside the ship to avoid walking thru the Casino. The flooring is truly beautiful everywhere, both carpet and tile work. We enjoyed the variety of shops but found the staff thoroughly bored and rather unpleasant. This is one of the very few places where staff could have improved in moral. POOLS  Yes, there was the typical chair hogging around the pool BUT there were always lots of chairs on the upper deck and sitting beside the pool isnt that important to me anyway. On the two cooler sea days there were lots of Alaskan blankets so the pool decks were always in use. The pool stewards were in full force and didnt have a problem moving towels off chairs. If you wanted to save a chair you needed to leave something personal on the chair or you would lose your chair for sure. The T-POOL is wonderful. On the warmer days it would have been great if that roof would have retracted. The ambiance is beautiful and the fat granite lady that overlooks everything is really something! There are far too few loungers here but there really isnt room for anymore so I wouldnt know what the solution would be. The negative is the strange smell that gagged me every time we entered the area. I did get used to it in time but it certainly wasnt a fresh air smell. ENRICHMENT SERIES  A chef, astronaut and a naturalist from UBC were on board and their seminars were well attended. In fact the naturalists series had to be moved from the cinema to the main theatre due to popularity. I found the timing a little early in the day for me and only attended one but I only heard good things about them. FITNESS CENTRE/SPA  Im happy to say that we did use the fitness center and it was great. The excellent treadmills overlook the front of the ship and were always available within a few minutes wait (actually I never did have to wait). The room was always full but not over-full. Exercise classes were in full force (for a fee). I must say that the change rooms were spectacular. We used them for morning showers after our work-outs and after using the T-Pool as the showers were just beautiful with rain-shower heads, nice soap and shampoo etc. The sauna has a huge window as does one of the showers  rather exotic. We did the SPA tour when we boarded the ship (recommended) and although tempting I couldnt justify the high prices. In comparison to what I would pay at home it was 2 3 times the price. PORTS -- HILO  It was good to land after four days at sea and we were able to watch our arrival for an hour or so. Of course it was pouring rain being Hilo is one of the wettest cities in the U. S. We exited the ship into a huge warehouse building where security personal go thru your backpacks, purses etc to look for contraband. We had brought sandwiches and fruit off the ship (ordered from room service) with us for our lunch and that seemed fine with them. There are lots of tour operators and flower sellers right there at your service but we had rented a car so didnt need a tour. We did, however, buy two $10 gorgeous arrangements of flowers to bring back to our cabins. The vendors kept them for us for the day. My husband left with the car rental shuttle to pick up the car whilst we waited  being we were the first people off the ship, he was the first to do the paperwork at the rental company and thus the first back. Dont dilly dally or you will get behind 500 others doing paperwork and waste your day. We took off for the Volcanoes National Park. The way is well marked and once you are there you pass thru a toll booth and they give you a map of the park on which there are suggested outlooks on Crater Rim Drive (the main circle drive) and Chain of Craters Road (the road that branches off CR Drive and takes you to the ocean). We stopped at Kilauea Visitor Center first to see the displays and watch the movie and then proceeded to most of the stopping points. The Chain of Craters Road is a long drive but dont miss it  it is beautiful, but it is likely to be hot by the time you make it to the sea. We saw the lava hitting the ocean in the distance. It would have been a 7 hour walk to reach lava the day we were there though. Once back on the Crater Rim Drive, we stopped at the Thurston Lava Tube  very cool. The ferns are enormous making you feel like youre in a Disney movie. Heading back to the ship we took a quick pass thru the town of Hilo just to see it and then stopped at Hilo Hatties and ran into Wal-Mart for some essentials. Although it poured in Hilo the whole day, it was on and off at the Park and it really was a wonderful day. KONA  We loved Kona! This is a tender port and we were on the first tender. Just get yourself out of bed and to wherever it is they announce you are suppose to be and pretend you have #1 tender priority and youll find yourself on tender #1!!! If you wait around until they load all the tour passengers and gold passengers etc. youll be all day. Face it  they want to get everyone off the ship as fast as possible and if you are there and ready to go, theyll put you on the next tender (trust me). We hailed a cab immediately and went to KAHALUU BEACH PARK. It is like a natural aquarium complete with giant turtles. We were there by 8:30 a.m. so practically had the place to ourselves (note& this park gets very, very busy as the day goes on - GO EARLY). This was our very first try at snorkeling and it was a piece of cake for my dh and for my Pop but it was a challenge for me. I ended up doing great but nearly had heart failure when a huge turtle went right underneath me  not what I was expecting! It was amazing  lots of gorgeous sea life. By 10:00 we were quite tired so bought a smoothy-drink and relaxed on the beach (not powder sandy but nice just the same). Then called the cab back to town (about $12 each way). We were starved by now and went to BUBBA GUMPS for a wonderful lunch. Dont miss it. It is right on the main drag and has a gorgeous view. Ask for a patio table of course. Then we went to the market right across the way from Bubbas  bought a few souvenirs, then walked to Hilo Hatties (not a good walk if you are infirm as it is up hill all the way. There is a shuttle that will take you from the ship but we wanted the exercise). We stopped briefly at Hulihee Palace, which is right close to the pier as well. A great day. KAUAI  We love Kauai too! Another stop where we had rented a car. This is where you have to avoid the chickens  they are everywhere. We had friends in Hanapepe to meet in the morning so drove the main hiway there, stopping at a little cafe in Hanapepe called Grinds for a Danish and coffee which was terrific. Called our kids at home in Edmonton and it sounded like we were next door. After a morning with friends we left at about noon for Waimea Canyon. It was a gorgeous day and the road winding up the Canyon was really lovely. The views are breathtaking. I have not seen the Grand Canyon but I surely feel like I have now. We only went to the PUU HINAHINA LOOKOUT as we were now running into time constraints  therefore we did not see clear to the Napili Coast which we may have seen had we gone on further. However I cant imagine what better views we could have seen of the canyon itself. This lookout offers washrooms and refreshments (including yummy coconuts on ice) and excellent picture taking opportunities. Dont miss this stop. We then turned around and headed back on the hiway to Poipu Beach. (just follow the signs). We went to the MARRIOTT WAIOHAI RESORT and used their beach (the public beach is right there as well but the Marriott is worth a look at  it is beautiful). Here, we snorkeled again. I admit to being a total chicken this time. The fish here are used to being fed and somehow they know when a new person enters the water and they swarm you  that freaked me out completely! I eventually got over it once they realized I didnt have rice for them and they left me alone. However I was nervous as the currents and waves were strong that day. I dont believe it is usually that way according to the guide books. We did have a real treat as a very rare and endangered Monk Seal was on the beach right there with all hundreds of us tourists. He was fenced in by the conservation officers to protect him as he will lay there for hours and people tend to think they need to be pushed back into the ocean like a beached whale! Now we had to return our car to Budget which turned out to be an adventure because they had written down the mileage wrong when we picked up the car and now claimed we had driven 3600 miles in one day. Considering the whole island is less than 200 miles around  that would be quite the driving. The idiot girl at the desk insisted she was charging us excess mileage  we said we had a ship to catch and she should use common sense and realize the error. We didnt want to leave her with our credit card until it was sorted out but our time was cutting fine by now  anyway a manager finally came and sorted it out. Note to self  leave extra time for idiots. OAHU  I guess we are easy to please because we loved Oahu too. Be sure to get up for arrival (actually dont miss any arrivals). Arriving in Oahu as the day breaks is spectacular. As the Summit docks the Hula Dancers sing and dance just for you and you feel like you are in a dream. We disembarked and caught a cab right away to Waikiki. Now, it may be cheaper to catch a bus and many do. However we are only here for one day and we didnt want to waste time waiting for a bus. Grab another couple and share the taxi fare if money is an issue. We mosied thru The Royal Hawaiian , the Sheraton Ala Moana Surfrider, walked the beach (wonderful to do right away before it gets busy), had an ice cream at Baskin Robbins, did the shops etc. Also went to the International Marketplace.  this place has become a real dump. Reminded me of Mexico. I would expect that this prime piece of real estate will soon be remodeled into another resort. Many of the stalls are empty and they all have the same stuff anyway. Then we had lunch at DUKES in the Outrigger on the Beach (right next to the Royal Hawaiian  the pink one). It was great  ask for a table on the patio obviously. For the afternoon we sunbathed on the beach and swam a little then headed back to the ship via cab. My parents were tired out so decided to stay on the ship but dh and I showered and disembarked again to spend the evening at the Aloha Tower Mall which is right there at the pier. It is a lovely outdoor mall where you can easily spend a few hours browsing, having coffee, listening to music etc. The ship doesnt leave until 11 p.m. so we wanted to enjoy Honolulu as along as possible but were too tired by now to tour the city. This was a good alternative. Sailaway at night was lovely as we left the lights of the city. MAUI - Now that we have been home a couple months we have decided that Maui was our favorite  if we could only return to one island. That is NOT to diminish any other island though  Hawaii is simply gorgeous! Arrival in Lahaina is very pretty as it is a lovely little former whaling village. We haled a cab immediately again and went to KAANAPALI BEACH where the cab driver dropped us off at the SHERATON (far end of Kaanapali Beach at BLACK ROCK). Here we found a perfect spot on the beach and began our third round of snorkeling. This is lovely calm, safe spot with tons of fish and turtles again. This is where we saw the whales breach right in front of us. After a couple hours we walked to WHALERS VILLAGE outdoor mall where we shopped and enjoyed more Kona Coffee  the view here at the mall is terrific. We had planned to bus to Lahaina but once again the bus service was poor and we werent about to wait so jumped in a cab. (about $15 each way) Lahaina has dozens of shops and galleries (Dont miss Wylands Gallery of ocean paintings). Now came the fiasco many have talked about. Somehow the lines got mixed up for tenders and there were terrible verbal fights and I feared for the poor traffic officer. I dont understand how there could be confusion when cruise ships dock there all the time and Im not sure whos fault it was but it was terrible. It was also very, very hot and the line was soooooso long. In the end we were 2 hours late leaving and there were a lot of MAD passengers. Many people were mad that Celebrity only offers part of the day in Maui  well I say read your itinerary. If you dont like it, dont book. I would like to have been all day in Maui too but Im not going to complain after the fact. Actually, by 2 we were all exhausted after 5 port days in a row and happy to get on the ship. Not to mention that the next 4 hours of sailing by the coast of Maui was absolutely beautiful and not to be missed. If we left at night you would not see that. DISEMBARKATION -- Was very frustrating and it needn't have been. The line up to reach immigration stretched the length of the entire ship _I'm not kidding. Although we had all been given official times to be there - that seemed irrelevant to everyone else! People were queue jumping, complaining, the very old were forced to stand for a long time etc... There has to be a better system. The other odd part is how you are dumped into the big warehouse to find your luggage - how more luggage doesn't go 'missing' is beyond me! Those thousands of pieces of black luggage are really a sight to behold. Remember to decorate your luggage! So there is my review. Would I go Celebrity again? Definitely!!! However I will likely look at Royal C for taking our kids as it caters to a younger crowd. I have to admit the extra Celebrity touches are awfully nice though! Here is a link to our pictures on WebShots  hope you enjoy them. http://community.webshots.com/myphotos?action=viewAllPhotos&albumID=549390828&security=pqWVnS If this link doesnt work  go to www.webshots.com and click on community  then our name is plaqster1 Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
The embarkation was very slow - this was our 5th cruise with Celebrity and we have never seen it that bad - probably due to the San Pedro port facilities being the worst we have seen. The dining was excellent. The theme meals were good ... Read More
The embarkation was very slow - this was our 5th cruise with Celebrity and we have never seen it that bad - probably due to the San Pedro port facilities being the worst we have seen. The dining was excellent. The theme meals were good and the midnight buffet around the pool area was a lot of fun. In addition to the main dining room, the buffet and other eating choices such as sushi, pasta and sandwich bars were very well laid out and the food was great although the breakfast menu in the buffet area was repetitious after the 11th day. The alcoholic beverage prices (wine, hard liquor) are becoming prohibitive (martini $10) for alcohol that is supposed to be duty free. Our stateroom was comfortable and efficient. The ships' cleanliness overall was excellent. The entertainment was the best we have seen so far. The dancers were energetic and the variety of comedians, ventriloquist and singers a welcome change. The islands we visited were interesting although it would have been better if we spent less time on the big island and more time in Maui which was really beautiful. Service as usual was outstanding and everyone was in tip top shape and doing their best to please. The tours and special considerations for "select" members (more than 5 cruises) were great. We got a backstage tour, galley tour, special cocktail with Captain and officers to mention a few. The daily activities were a bit weak and repetitious. Celebrity should work on offering more variety - you can only play trivial pursuit and bingo so many times! Especially since this cruise had 8 days at sea. Disembarkation was a disaster. The ship docked 45 minutes late and this caused chaos for those who had a early flight to catch. We were each given specific times to clear customs and this procedure was "out the window" once the chaos of docking late occurred. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
This was a 14 day round trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back on Celebritys Summit with 3 of my cousins and their husbands We had 4 sea days going and coming. Our plan was to arrive a day early just in case of inclement weather in ... Read More
This was a 14 day round trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back on Celebritys Summit with 3 of my cousins and their husbands We had 4 sea days going and coming. Our plan was to arrive a day early just in case of inclement weather in Chicago, but all of our flights were on time. We arrived in LA to worse weather than we had left behind in Chicago, a bit warmer but raining. We stayed at the Hyatt Long Beach and met my cousins there for a drink in the lobby bar once we had all arrived on our different flights. We were all very excited and talking about our upcoming cruise. We also got to see our friends, Tom & Pam who live in San Pedro, and they treated us to for a lovely dinner that night. By the time we got to bed @ 1 AM-Chicago time, we had been up for 21 hrs. We didnt find out until after we got back that the Hyatt had wanted to bump us to another hotel because they had 3 conventions and needed the rooms. Our travel agent, Donna refused to let them move us and talked to the hotel manager who finally relented and let us stay there. That explained the complimentary bottle of wine, the chocolate covered strawberries and the note in our ship cabins apologizing for the inconvenience from Hyatt. Apparently several people were moved to the other facility and they still had our names on the list. The Hyatt was a lovely property however and the room was very comfortable. We would definitely stay there again. They did provide a shuttle to the pier which was a large coach bus. Embarkation was quite busy and slow as the computers needed to scan our pre-boarding documents that we had done online were not working. As a result, everything needed to be done over with a resulting backlog of passengers. Once on board, we were greeted with champagne or mimosas and found our own way to our cabins. This was about 11:30 AM and I imagine it was the busiest time to be boarding. We waited in the Martini lounge while one of our number went to see if the rooms were ready. When he didnt return we headed up one deck to our Category 2-C cabins in the center of the ship. We had been given our sign and sail cards and we were in our rooms at last! I found out later that these cards with their useful magnetic strips can be erased! I was carrying my cell phone with me all the time in a little purse with my room card and after about a week, I couldnt unlock the room door! I went down to customer relations where they issued me a new one and asked if I had it next to a cell phone or digital camera. When I said I had a cell phone, they said that cards were frequently erased by the batteries of these devices. Since I had promised my daughter to keep my phone with me at all times so she could notify me in case of an emergency, I ended up needing to get a third card before we finished the cruise. The ship was as beautiful as we remembered it. Still had the funky modern art which evoked much comment from the passengers, especially my cousin, Sharon, who couldnt stand it! Summit looked to be in excellent shape inside and out. I did not notice any signs of wear and tear in any of the public areas. Our cabins all had a balcony which was really cool to sit out on and enjoy the view both at sea and while in port. The first night out and the first day were quite bouncy and 2 of my cousins became ill. It turned out that Marilyn had a serious sinus infection and was treated by the ships doc. The medical facility was quite busy as 90% of the passengers were over 70. (If I thought this crowd was old, I guess the last one was even older. Even the comedian made a joke that the last group consisted of very old people and their parents.) The nurse told Marilyn that there was a lot of pneumonia on the ship. I was holding my breath anytime someone got on the elevator and started coughing. The food was superb as always and they have expanded the options for you to stuff yourself. It was lets belly up to the trough one more time. For breakfast, they had 4 buffet lines going and someone on each side making omelets and eggs to order. In the back by the casual dining area, there were waffles and pancakes available 8-10 am. This caused quite a backlog as there was only one waffle maker and people did not want to wait. Lunch was a specialty buffet on the port side on sea days and a station to make your own sandwich in the casual dining area. They actually made it for you according to your directions. They also had French fries which were quite good. The specialty buffets were ok but the only one that looked appealing was the American with fried chicken and corn on the cob. The Chinese buffet was said to be good but I never got to it. The Mexican that I did try was pretty bland for tacos, without any real taste to them. Also on each side was a pasta station which got a good work-out. From Noon to 10 pm there was pizza on the far starboard side. You could design you own pizza but they always had some kind already made up for you to try. It was ok, but the crust was really lacking in taste. The Spa Cafe by the Thalassotherapy pool was very good for light choices for breakfast and lunch. As usual, the pool grill had hot dogs, hamburgers and a specialty choice of those each day. They did have the best pickles I have ever eaten. Since we were changing time going and coming, people were constantly adjusting to the new time but the ship stuck to their schedule and by 11 am only one buffet line was open for breakfast and it was usually quite crowded as was the omelet station. Forget about the waffles, it closed at 10 am, too bad for the passengers who slept in. We did order coffee and rolls in our cabin a few times just to have a little something in our stomachs before going to work out. It was very pleasant to sit by the open veranda door while we watched the ocean go by. Dinner was at late seating and I think this will be the last time we will do it that way. Since most of the late seating shows were at 7:00, when you were done eating it was go to the casino or to bed. No one wanted to hit the sheets with a full stomach. The dinner menus were the same as I recalled from our last 14 day cruise. Since 2 of my cousins are very picky eaters, they kept the waiter and his assistant on his toes throughout our cruise but they were very accommodating even to offering Thousand Island dressing at every dinner since that was the only one they would eat! A few times they tried the chicken breast with baked potato and it was always presented as nicely as the other meals. Karl commented that they really earned their tips with our group. Marilyn asked for corn a few days before the end of the cruise and after that we had corn on the cob each day. We also chose to try the Normandie specialty restaurant on what we thought would be an Informal night. Turned out to be the first formal night and the room was not crowded at all. It was the regular menu though without any specials by the chef for formal night. Since I was a Captains Club member, I could make our reservation in advance through the Captains Club desk. It took 2 phone calls and 2 e-mails before I received a confirmation of our reservation. It was stated in the message that the largest table they had was for a party of six, so we thought that we would be split up. When we arrived, they had set a table for eight and it was fine. The tables are pretty spacious and even with all the plates and silverware, we were fine. We elected the regular menu and not the wine-pairing menu since 2 of my cousins would not have drunk the wine anyway. Karl and I decided that we would try it for ourselves the next time. The food was superb and they were very accommodating with separate checks for the 4 couples. Since we were family, it would not have been a big deal to have one couple pay the whole thing and everyone else settle with them later. Two people chose the rack of lamb-Wellington style and it looked wonderful but it was a very large portion with at least 3 chops. We had the shrimp and scallops w/pasta and it was very tasty. The portions are much larger than in the regular dining room so you dont miss all the courses. Of course there is the cheese course and some of the guys had some port w/that. The chocolate soufflE looked wonderful and my cousins said it was. I tried the sampler desserts by Michel Roux and they were great except I expected them to be much smaller. There was no way I could eat all of them. Karl had to help me out. I was still on Chicago time the first few days and was waking up at 5 AM ship time. I thought that I would be the only one in the gym when it opened at 6 AM, but was I surprised! Everyone else was up too and had the same idea. We were religious about working out every day in the well-equipped workout room and finally found that going around 9-9:30 AM was the best time to get a machine. The day we pulled into Hilo (which was our first stop) we could see whales surfacing in front of us as we walked on the treadmills. The gym is at the top of the ship in the front so you have the Captains-eye view as you pull into port. It was interesting to note that we left Los Angeles at 5:00 PM on Sunday and even doing 17 knots during the day, we didnt arrive in Hilo until 10:00 Friday morning. According to the Summit Daily, it is 2400 miles from the west coast to Hawaii. Sure makes you respect those early sailors! In Hilo we did the Circle of Fire and Waterfalls Helicopter tour so we saw the active volcanoes and the lava pouring into the ocean. (Well it was more like trickling) But it still was very cool. We have the video so we can bore all of our friends. They make you get on a scale at the dock so as to balance the load in the aircraft before the bus took us to the airport. If you can stand the humiliation, it is a great tour. If you are thin, no problem. We bought an orchid lei at the airport which was only $6. I did wear it for at least 4 days. I never thought to stick it in the fridge in the room to keep it fresh. On our last trip to Hawaii, we boarded in Honolulu and everyone received an orchid lei. This didnt happen on this trip. Maybe it was because that trip in 2002 was Celebritys first trip to Hawaii. We had already seen Pearl Harbor the last time so we tried to go to see the Polynesian Cultural Center but we were too late for a tour and the rental cars were all taken. Here you should probably take the ships tour. We really had no idea how far away this attraction was. The taxi driver quoted us $120 one way! So I ended up shopping and walking around Honolulu for part of the day. You cant believe how you are sweating and how hot you feel and it probably was only 82 degrees. The historical section is walking distance from the pier and so is Chinatown. Considering we were there from 7 am to 11 pm, we should have seen a lot more. The cousins did go to see Pearl Harbor, the Missouri battleship and the Bowfin submarine. They left the ship about 7:45 and didnt get back until almost 4:00. So no matter what you do, it is time consuming and you will not see everything you want to see. There isnt too much to see in Kauai but the beach is walking distance from the pier and the waves were great. There are only ships tours here to be had. I wish we had done the helicopter tour here or gone to see Waimea Canyon. I guess we will have to put that down for a future cruise. We tendered ashore at Kona and did the requisite shopping at Hilo Hatties. Karl bought me a beautiful black Tahitian pearl slide to go on my omega chain. What a nice surprise! I was not expecting anything at all. The cousins hit Hilo Hatties at every stop. They did have the best prices on Aloha wear and other souvenirs. Maui was our last stop and I went whale watching with Captain Steves tours. I was too late to get on the ships excursion but I remembered reading about this excursion so I called from Honolulu on my cell phone and got directions to Mala wharf. Good thing I took a cab there as I would never have found it by myself. That 5 minute cab ride cost me over $7 but it was worth it as there was no signs indicating where you were or that Captain Steve came there. Luckily a family was there and confirmed that I was in the right place. Our vehicle was a zodiac boat that seated 24 and all the other passengers were from resorts. I was the only one off the ship. We saw lots of whales and they came quite close to the boat. I think we saw more whales than the people who took the Pacific Whale Foundation tour from the ship. This boat was more maneuverable and able to go to the whales location easier. They really want you to see a lot and tell others. Since I now knew where I was in location to Lahaina, I just walked back to the town and the ship. It took me about 20 minutes not counting the shopping I did on the way. The entertainment was certainly the best I have ever seen on a cruise. Its seems that they pull out the stops on the longer cruises. There were three big production shows with very talented singers and dancers. The featured acts were all great, especially Pearl Kaufman, a pianist, Taste of Cirque du Soleil, Jeri Sager, singer, & Jeff Nease, comedian. The one thing they could have done was bring back the entertainers for an afternoon show. On the sea days that would have been very well attended. I think they might have had an afternoon show by the dulcimer player, Ping Xu, but we would have skipped that one. We saw him on our Alaska cruise and he played the same songs he played 3 yrs ago! The Celebrity Orchestra was outstanding. What a bunch of very talented guys. The casino was pretty well attended also and I cant complain since I won $1300 playing 3-card Poker over the 14 days. My cousin won about $800 on different slot machines and we all won playing Bingo with prizes from $90-140. I won $100 early in the cruise and Karl won $140 the last morning. That put us even on Bingo until that evening when I won the big prize of $3400 which I had to share with another lady. That was just the frosting on the cake! All of my cousins were my cheering section. (I was wondering who was cheering and applauding since everyone around me looked very unhappy.) The family joke was that Karl had to book me on the next cruise so I wouldnt have to get off the boat and break my winning streak. Disembarkation was a problem in that the ship was late getting to Los Angeles and as a result, the Vision of the Seas had our dock spot so the port had to makeshift something so we could exit the ship. Since we had to go thru customs (that stop in Ensenada) before leaving, we lost our opportunity for breakfast. Our color was Beige-1 and we were second off the ship due to our plane leaving at 12:15. Some people were really enraged that they just couldnt grab their luggage and go. As it happened we boarded the bus for the airport and sat for 20-30 minutes while he filled it up. By the time we signed in, got our boarding passes, went through Security and found our gate (the last one of course), we barely had time to grab a Burger King and board the plane. But all in all, this was a really great cruise and that one little glitch at the end certainly didnt ruin it for us. It looks like Celebrity has a winner with these round trips that spare you the long flight from your home city to Honolulu. Getting home was easy since we are all in Chicago and didnt have to change planes to continue our trip. Picked up all the luggage, called the limo and we were home and back to reality after 2 weeks of luxury. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
This was our second cruise on Celebrity and it certainly will not be our last. We had a wonderful cruise. Embarkation was a bit problematic, as high winds at the Port of LA damaged the gangway and x-ray screening equipment. That resulted ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Celebrity and it certainly will not be our last. We had a wonderful cruise. Embarkation was a bit problematic, as high winds at the Port of LA damaged the gangway and x-ray screening equipment. That resulted in delayed disembarkation and thus delays and long lines to board. The fact that the weather was poor made it even less pleasant. This was the New Year's Day holiday, so the Port of LA had no one available to fix the problem. Once inside the terminal building, after an admittedly long wait, Celebrity did its usual efficient job of getting us on board. I strongly recommend using their on-line registration, it really speeds things up. We were greeted with a glass of champaign or a mimosa to sip, then escorted to our cabin. We had the least expensive outside cabin, since our view is that we spend so little time in the cabin that up grading isn't important to us. The cabin was actually significantly larger than on other lines (e.g. HAL, Princess) at 176 sq. feet, and is thoughtfully designed. Not spacious, but completely comfortable. The ship itself ins lovely, well designed and maintained, but there is some wear and tear showing in some furnishings. For us this was the ideal vacation. Four sea days to Hawaii, four port days, then four more sea days. I am at a loss to understand why some passengers were complaining about the number of sea days. Didn't they read the itinerary for this cruise? We find this on every cruise - some folks who just must find something to complain about. Celebrity really shines in the area of service - cheerful, helpful and polite describes the entire staff. That was especially true of our dining staff. The food was very good to excellent. Again, I am amazed at the folks who don't factor in the fact that the kitchen is producing 1800+ dinners every night, while the average fine restaurant does only 100 or so. Given that, the food was varied, well prepared and well presented. I must comment especially on the beef, which both my wife and I though was just outstanding. The sushi bar was a nice touch and not very busy. Since we had late seating for dinner, we were able to enjoy the hot tub, then have a bite of sushi and relax. Breakfast was good, with fresh waffles, eggs and omelets to order and a good buffet. Lunch was fair to good at the buffet (just not my thing) but the pasta station was good, as was the deli station that prepared fresh deli-style sandwiches. Burgers and fries were available poolside for those who just can't live without them. This was not a cruise for the go-go-go crowd. I found the lectures to be wonderful, including a faculty member from Temple Univ. who lectured on American composers playing and singing many of their songs. His were the best attended lectures I've ever encountered at sea, with 500+ attending. Also, an emeritus professor from the Univ. of Hawaii provided wonderfully informative talks on various subjects ranging from reef ecology to the geological origins of the islands. There are the usual activities, such as bingo, bridge,etc. but no rock climbing wall, no artificial surfing etc. For us (and we are in our 50s) this was just what we wanted. We had the chance to relax, read, play some backgammon and generally recuperate from our hectic lives. Evening entertainment was good, not great, but enjoyable. The casino is the usual cruise ship affair. Our shore excursions were terrific, including the volcano national park on Hawaii. Obviously, you have only a day in each port, so if you really want to see Hawaii a cruise such as this isn't the way to do it, but if you want to enjoy your days ashore, and have a wonderful time getting there and back this cruise was the way to go. disembarkation was a breeze. Well organized, no problems. We came at our appointed time, waited less then 15 minutes, went down the gangway, found our luggage and were in a cab to the airport in 15 minutes. Overall an outstanding cruise experience. We will cruise Celebrity again - probably on the Summit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
This was my first cruise on Celebrity, and it blew me away. I've cruised on Royal Caribbean and Carnival before, and this was the best. Embarkation was on October 10, 2005 in Los Angeles Birth 91 (i think) at the World Cruise ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Celebrity, and it blew me away. I've cruised on Royal Caribbean and Carnival before, and this was the best. Embarkation was on October 10, 2005 in Los Angeles Birth 91 (i think) at the World Cruise Terminal. Not the smoothest thing to do in the world, but it wasn't horrible. We got there at about 11am. We went in some doors and were told to go outside, but not really what the procedure was. This was by a port employee. Once outside, we assumed we were to line up in a line that was forming. Eventually, we found someone who gave us luggage tags we filled out. Then a porter came and took our bags. The only bad thing I can say here is it would have been nice to have a Celebrity employee there we could ask and confirm what the proper procedure was. The line started moving at 11:30am, and we were on the ship by 12:30pm. Was greeted with champagne and orange juice. We were told our room would be ready at 1pm and it was. We just hung out at the buffet before then, and toured the ship a bit. Later in the day, our bags were delivered to our room, one before the lifeboat drill at 4:30pm, and the rest after. There was lots of activity and give away's going on the first afternoon before departure. We didn't stick around for that as we mostly relaxed, toured the ship a bit, and ate. Food was good to excellent. Of course some things are better than others. If you don't like anything, ask for something else. Our waiter was very accommodating. If we wanted two things on the menu, it was no problem. Often we would get the beef or chicken dish with a side of lobster tail, or whatever else we wanted that night. Our table was 502 which is right at the back of the dinning room on the upper level by the window. Amazing view. Igor was a great waiter and Beata (I know im misspelling it) was a amazing wine steward. She was very friendly and can't say enough good things about her. Our table was for 8, and we sat with some great people. If you can, don't miss dinner in the dinning room. I think it is a big feature of any cruise, and it is fun to get to know the people you sit with, if they aren't total jerks, which I think is rare. You can request a change if it's ever a problem, and as a last resort, there are other dinning options. The sushi bar was open 5:45pm to 10pm. Mostly standard rolls, and sushi. Not a huge selection, but good for a cruise ship. Waterfall Cafe (think Windjammer on Royal) was great. Food was very good quality for a buffet, better than Royal Caribbean. Service is high for such a casual dinning venue. Waiters to take your tray to your table, bartenders, etc. Views are great. You can almost always find a seat at the back out on the patio. Again, great view. The Normandie is great. The food is amazing. Service can't be beat. Price is $30 per person plus $27.95 if you do a wine pairing with each course which is well worth it. It's easy to get reservations there. I don't think they were full any nights. If you want, do it on a casual night since the dinners on formal nights tend to be a bit nicer in the main dinning room, so don't miss those! Our stateroom was 7060, inside cabin. It was very nice. Every morning/night our room steward did our room, like any other cruise line. We also always had our ice bucket refilled and a crate of fresh water. It was great. Before our first stop at Puerto Vallarta, beach towels were delivered to our stateroom we could use for free or if we wanted to buy them, keep them and be charged to our account (or they would deliver new ones). We didn't want to bother ironing all our shirts before we went on the trip, so left these to our stateroom attendant. $2 a shirt or $3 for express (pressing only, no cleaning). It was easy. The shows onboard were average for any cruise. Actually, it would have been nice to see some more variety. 5 of the nights was the Celebrity singers/dancers. One night there was a comedian, Rich Papurra (bad spelling again). Another night a piano player. We were in the main seating for dinner, so our show was always around 9pm. If you're in the late seating, your show is either at 6:30pm or some nights it's not until 10:30pm or so. Pools are great on this ship. I thought they were big for a cruise ship. The outdoor pool was good, warm water, but not sure if it was heated. It was great weather and Mexico is very hot, so it might have been that warm on its own. Lots of deck chairs, never had a problem with finding one in the sun or shade, even on sea days. The thalasotherapy pool was very nice. Adults only which is great (not that I ever saw kids in the outdoor one either, few kids on this ship it seemed). The lounge chairs by the windows are very comfortable, and the area has air conditioning so it is very comfortable. Spa music is played, and you can fall asleep to it no problem. I liked reading in this area by the lounge chairs at the window. There's not many, so between about 11-3, it's more difficult to find one of those chairs. By the pool itself, you'll find a teak chair no problem. The casino was fun on this ship, my partner enjoyed playing the blackjack tables. The dealers were all very friendly. We ended up getting to know the regular blackjack players, and enjoyed striking up conversation with them and running into them on the ship and asking how they were doing. The slots don't pay out that great. It's not like vegas. Tendering was a bit challenging. We all had to go in the theatre, and you were given a number. When they called your number, you could go. We had to wait in the theatre for 45 min one morning, but that was probably the longest wait. By 11am, you won't have to wait at all. Just be patient. Some people we know missed their shore excursion because they said they waited over an hour for tendering. They got their money back no problem, but of course were a little pissed. They arrived at the theatre when they were told to, but it took too long. Not sure all the circumstances around this, but be warned. Our ship went to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Apparently Cabo San Lucas was the best, small, everything is close to the tender pier, and great beaches. We had so much fun on the ship, we only got off in Puerto Vallarta to go to Blue Chairs. Quickly got annoyed with the number of vendors asking us to buy crap. It wasn't a busy time I guess, so the vendor to beach bum ratio was higher. Literally every 30-60 seconds we were being asked to buy something. Hope I'm not missing anything. Basically, this ship is beautiful. The art is weird, but fun to look at. There's lots of it. The ship is in great shape. Cold towels and juice when you return from a port is great. Cushions on deck chairs are an great thing. Service is amazing. I think I'd go crazy working on a ship, but these people seem to love it, and are very friendly. It really feels like they want to help you and give you great service, not like they have to. At 91,000 tons, the Summit only has 1950 passengers max capacity. A Radiance or Vision class ship, similar in size or small or Royal Caribbean would have 2400+ passengers. It makes a difference. The atmosphere on the ship is more formal and classic. In general, you'll have a great cruise experience with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Master: Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis Hotel Director: Daniel llias Cruise Director John Howell PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS Cruising, like everything, is subjective. A wonderful cruise for one person is not necessarily for another. Sometimes ... Read More
Master: Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis Hotel Director: Daniel llias Cruise Director John Howell PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS Cruising, like everything, is subjective. A wonderful cruise for one person is not necessarily for another. Sometimes it's timing or simply our moods at the time. Some of us look for one experience, others look for something else. So with minor flaws, this is a rave review for Celebrity. This was was the cruise that sealed the deal for us -- we are now Celebrity loyalists. This is our third Celebrity cruise -- the first being on Horizon to Bermuda in 1997, the second on Millennium in the Western Caribbean in 2003 and now this 2-week adventure through the Canal on Summit. We booked another 10-day cruise in the Southern Caribbean in December 2006. We decided longer cruises are for us and cancelled our scheduled 7-day cruise on the Mercury in October 2006. Our experience with HAL, thus far, simply does not compare in service. Even visually, Summit is more appealing as we traveled about the ship. However, when I find a longer itinerary on HAL we will likely give them another try because I don't think it's quite fair to compare the 2 experiences without a longer cruise in the mix. It takes about 2 days to get "into the swing" of the cruise. And the last 2 days I anticipate its sad end. So a 7 day cruise only affords me about 3 days of total relaxation. A longer cruise gives us the opportunity to just revel in the absolutely joyous experience of cruising. I have never enjoyed being on the sea as much as I did these past 2 weeks. PRE-CRUISE INFO: We flew into LAX, rented a car and drove to Long Beach where we stayed at the Coast Hotel. We love the location; the hotel was clean and quite nice right on the water. The Queen Mary was within walking distance so that was a wonderful way to spend a part of Saturday. Finding the hotel was very difficult, but if we were to sail out of San Pedro again, I would stay here. OVERALL OBSERVATIONS ~ CELEBRITY VS. HOLLAND AMERICA: This cruise made Celebrity our #1 cruise line of choice. However, I've never done a 2 week cruise on HAL so this may not be a completely fair observation. But I can honestly say that other than some issues with a couple of shore excursions, there is absolutely nothing we didn't love about this cruise. We've cruised 15 times since the early '80s -- not a ton of experience. But we've cruised on Cunard, Regency, HAL, Celebrity, NCL, Royal Viking Line, Seawind Cruises and Windstar so we have a lot of compare. First to compare the ships Oosterdam (sailed 11/04) and Summit -- personally I feel the design, layout and general architectural details are far superior on Summit. The outside elevators alone and so much more open and encompass superior views as you glide up and down. There are 4 of them vs. Oosterdam's 2 and glass practically all around. I can't even compare the onboard shops. Oosterdam's were sparse and broken up in such a way that it reminded me of a maze. Summit has magnificent shops laid out similarly to walking down an avenue with two kiosks in the center where the merchandise is changed daily. The cabin's appointments are far superior. The dressing table/desk on the Oosterdam also held a TV and had little cabinet space. The Summit's dressing table is much larger and more usable. This was the most amazing cruise we've ever taken in every way. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier by taxi around 11:15 a.m. If there was a short line, I don't even remember it. We were Concierge Class so had "priority" boarding, but it would have made no difference at all. We were on the ship by 11:30 and able drop our carry-ons in our stateroom. Our cabin attendant, Lorna, apologized that it wasn't "quite ready," but promised it would be within half an hour. We happily headed to the Waterfall Cafe for lunch. STATEROOMS: We were in Concierge Class #6135 on Penthouse Deck (6th). As you may know, because 6135 is between 2 Royal Suites, the deck is considerably deeper than most CC class staterooms. There is plenty of room for 2 cushioned chaises and a small table plus 2 cushioned chairs and a round dining table. This cabin is also about 20 sq. ft. larger, I think, than a standard verandah cabin. The "living" area seemed a lot roomier than our cabin on the Millennium which was midships on the same deck. The closets are not great, but we were still able to somehow fit everything in. Unlike the HAL ships, there are 6 drawers and roomy shelf below the safe. But there is only one closet for hanging clothes for us. Luckily DH doesn't pack too heavy and there was room for all my "stuff." I do prefer the verandah furnishings on the Oosterdam (wicker) -- this furniture was not as nice, but the size made up for it and the cushions helped. Had we stepped up to a Sky Suite, I think we would have had wood which was really very nice. One thing I loved on the Summit was when you've ordered Room Service for Breakfast (CC gets the full menu); Lorna would always call me to say the tray was on its way. So much better than the knock on the door. I did love the little "extras" we got in CC class -- the fresh fruit everyday, the 2 pillows each were heavenly. The comfort of the bed was heavenly and I loved the duvet. Have to admit it didn't quite measure up to HAL's beds, but was so far superior in every other way that I overlook that completely. I'll use this opportunity to mention the Royal Suites. We had Cruise Critic friends who were lucky enough to grab one for a really great rate and they invited us for a party one night. This is an AWESOME suite with a huge verandah with hot tub, separate bedroom, dressing area and large bath. The living/dining area was beautifully furnished with luscious woods. They had large plasma screen TVs in both the bedroom and living room. I was sooooo jealous! PASSENGERS: A word about the passengers as a whole. I would say the age range was definitely in the over 60 department. But there were many in their 40s and 50s and a few younger. We had (I think) 5 small children who were so well behaved I thought they might be robots. There were also many Europeans onboard. We were fortunate that the ship was not completely full with about 1900 passengers (Summit can actually hold up to almost 2300 when used to capacity). Some of you might say "so old!!!" Sometimes someone might walk a bit slower than you might like, but everyone on this ship seemed to be having an equally wonderful time and I heard little or no complaining. Maybe I walked in a dream world, but I didn't hear it. We had a really nice Roll Call before we left and we knew 40+ had signed up for the Celebrity Connections party. Several of us also decided to hook up at Sail Away at the Mast Bar. The person who began the roll call made wonderful nametags for us and we all gathered there in wonderful moods ready for a great cruise. San Pedro was unseasonably cold that day, but our hearts were sure warm! We gathered the next day at Michael's Club for our party and what an amazing turnout! And what a fun, wonderful group with ages across the board from young to very old. But the very old guy just happened by! When I asked him what his CC name was, he said he just saw it was a party and decided to come on in! John Howell, the most wonderful amazing CD on the face of the oceans, came to greet us. When we had to break up because another party was coming in, they promised us another party the 2nd week. They came through for us and that party was equally well attended and enjoyed. Throughout the cruise, close bonds were made among several CC members and we really enjoyed getting together, sharing tours together and other activities. And because we had made contact on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas Roll Call before we left (knowing they'd be on a similar itinerary), we had fun shouting across the ships a couple of times ... especially as we made our way through the Panama Canal. Early on, one CC'er suggested that on Sea Days anyone interested in eating in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant should meet outside at 12:30. We did this a few times and were particularly pleased when we invited John Howell to join us one day after our second party. He graciously accepted and I was fortunate to have him sitting next to me. He shared a lot of fun stories and information we wouldn't ordinarily have. I said it before and I'll say it again: John Howell is, without question, the best CD I've ever known. It almost seemed he was everywhere at once, always accessible and always there with a smile. He's raised the bar for me -- that's for sure. DINING Cosmopolitan Restaurant Before dinner we would always go to the Rendezvous Lounge or Martini Bar for the Virgin drink of the day. If we wanted to watch the dancing, the Lounge was the place to be. But we really liked the Martini Bar and the Champagne Bar when we wanted to talk. We often didn't get to do this because the show was so frequently at 7:00. We had Table #436 right in the center of the dining room beside the Ms Rotterdam statue. We could not have had a better table. I thought the food was really good although I had much more beef than I would generally enjoy. I'm much fussier about food than many people are, but everyone else felt the food was really top notch. Personally I didn't like the potatoes except a couple of rare occasions, but the beef was amazing. Everyone who had fish said it was always wonderful as well ... even though we had never heard of any of the varieties they offered. For us, it was our Waiter, Julio, and Asst. Waiter, Francisco, who really made our dining experience the best of a lifetime. Their service was beyond description. And this was where Celebrity shines so far above HAL which doesn't begin to compare. I still fault HAL management decisions for this, but Julio had 3 tables during Late Seating so he had the time to give us so much. Both Julio and Francisco were so happy, so willing to meet our every whim. For our sitting, everyone seemed to adhere to the dress code throughout the week although I must admit it seems that "Informal" is a word not everyone quite "gets." To top off this amazing experience, we also had the only Assistant Maitre D' who has ever bothered with us at all. From the very first night Celito (sp?) came to our table and spent time with us. He would fulfill any request or desire we might have. The extras that we got which included a magnificent array of cheeses and biscuits every single night were just fantastic. The Normandie (Specialty Restaurant) We only dined here once because we were invited by 4 other CC'ers to join them one night. I'm so glad we did because just the "show" is worth the $30/pp cover. We had an 8:00 pm reservation and we left the restaurant at 11:30. It was superb from start to finish. Waterfall Cafe and Grill Everything here was so good. The Pasta Bar (made to order) was exceptional and so fresh. The pizza was terrific. I especially loved the vegetable one. I like the HAL ice cream better, I have to say. But Celebrity has improved their burgers, etc., and these were absolutely amazing. All the desserts here were so good. I also loved the Deli section with the "make your own but they'll do it for you" sandwiches. Which reminds me! The Belgian Waffles in this section in the morning (only until 10 so get yourself up there!) with strawberries in syrup and whipped cream all over them were beyond description. All the fruit (especially the cantaloupe) was wonderful as well. OTHER SERVICE The service overall was absolutely amazing. Everyone everywhere on the ship greeted us with a smile, a "hello" and a "good morning" or "good night." I never encountered anyone who did not deliver the epitome in service from the Concierge, to Guest Relations to Captain's Club and to Future Sales (and you can bet I was in there booking another cruise!). Just that friendly "good morning" when we emerge from the midship elevators for breakfast is an added touch you don't soon forget. If I'm going to criticize, it's the Shore Excursion desk. I realize it's a tough job, but there were not pleasant when all I asked for was a comment form to let them know about my shore excursion problem. Lorna, our Stateroom Attendant, was always just outside my door with a greeting and a smile. ENTERTAINMENT Amazing! From one night to the next, they never repeated one act. Each show was fantastic and fun. When I judge shipboard entertainment, I don't compare it to Broadway -- I compare it to other cruises we've been on. We went to almost every show. And I loved that many nights they had the Late Seating Show at 7:00 so that we could enjoy other entertainment throughout the ship. It also gave us a chance to get to bed before 1:00 in the morning! Some of the talent was beyond amazing. The Aerialists, Alex and Sally, were magnificent to watch. The featured singers, Travis and Denise Turpin were wonderful and just seemed to enjoy themselves every minute. The Celebrity Singers and Dancers were fantastic. Noodles Levenstein was just plain funny, Antonio Salci (Pianist) was so good I bought his CD, Jack Walker's voice got better with every song and by the end of his show I was on the edge of my seat. I ran to be the first to buy his CD. There were many nights that these entertainers received and deserved a standing ovation. Both DH and I agreed that it was the best entertainment we'd seen on any cruise. "ACUPUNCTURE AT SEA" If you've ever considered acupuncture and just haven't done it, this is a wonderful time to try it. They had several lectures explaining the process and I decided to bite the bullet and try it. I found it very helpful and plan to continue now that I'm back home. AQUA SPA The only service I used here was a manicure. Josh was the most amusing and amazing manicurist I've ever had and the hand ritual treatment was beyond anything I've experienced. I didn't every have a manicure before that includes massaging my neck and shoulders, but I'll take it!!! SEA DAY ACTIVITIES (We had 7 of these!) These were heaven! We're not big "activities" people so unfortunately I can't report on that very much. I do know there were a heck of a lot of people up on the pool deck having "Fun In The Sun". And I loved the "Sorbet Parade". Yummy! SHIP'S PHOTOGRAPHERS AND PICTURES: Loved that the photographers were not "in your face". They would ask if we wanted a picture taken. This made it a lot easier to find our pictures when we did want them because so many people declined. The cost has gone off the charts and the only one I purchased was our table picture. I'm glad I did because the one taken with my camera came out blurry. But I don't know why they won't print up a simply 5x7 rather than attaching 2 wallet size and a 4x6 in order to jack the price to $19.95. We didn't bother with the "studio" shots either because those cost even more. In this world of digital photography, it's just not worth it. The only thing I regret was not asking the photographers to come to the "Connections" parties so we could get a group Cruise Critic shot. I would have loved that and it would have been worth the $20. But I just never thought of it and no one else did either. PORTS AND TOURS Upon returning to the ship in every port, we were greeting with cold water, punches or lemonade and ice cold hand towels. These were soooo welcome in hotter ports and particularly while waiting for the tenders. We had 2 days a sea (aaaaah sweet bliss as we relaxed into the journey of a lifetime) before arriving at Cabo San Lucas on Tuesday, 10/25. Sailing along the Baja in the early morning light is an awesome experience. Rounding Lands End, we dropped anchor the farthest from shore that you can without being the Pacific Ocean. Summit gets last dibs at every port from what we saw. I have no idea why. So it was a loooong tender ride into port. I hate tendering anyway. Luckily for us, we had tours in both tendered ports so it was a piece of cake. I will say that the tenders on Summit are far better than HAL. They're more open, with more air flowing through and much lighter. So it was as good as it could be. We took a ship's tour in this port called: "Land's End Boat Cruise & Beach Tour": If you want to giggle a bit, go to the Celebrity site and read their description of this tour focusing on the part about the "beach club." The boat portion of this tour was just as we expected and I have no complaint whatsoever. It was wonderfully enjoyable and I just wish they could have dropped us off at Lover's Beach and leave it at that. Instead we were taken back to the port where we were herded like cattle toward a bus to take us to the "beach club." The problem here was there was a guy in the front with a sign who walked very fast and appeared to lose half of us (somehow we all ended up where we were supposed to be). We got on a very clean and pretty bus and were driven the short distance to the beach. This was mere moments from the pier and we could see our Summit anchored off shore (if we were smart enough to bring our binoculars with us). The RCI and Crystal ships were clearly visible. But this is where the joke began for us. We walked down a very steep hill and were led onto a crowded beach there in the harbor. They had roped off a section where about 50 or so plastic lounge chairs had been place with a bunch of market umbrella. The chaises were so close together that the only way to sit on them was to stand at the foot of the chair and sort of fall backward hoping the other end would not pop up and kick you in the head. The chairs were on such an angle that I basically went behind it and dug it deep into the sand just so I could sit on it without sliding off. We were told that the roped off section would keep the vendors from bothering us -- that they could only come over to us if "invited." Well, they were very good at making you feel guilty if you didn't "invite" them. On top of that, they pretty much blocked any view of the water. They were so sweet, actually, that is was hard to be angry but it certainly wasn't quite what we expected. We couldn't wait to get back on the bus and return to the ship. After another day at sea we arrived Thursday in Acapulco which I was prepared to hate, but was pleasantly surprised. Here we had booked a tour called: "Mayan Palace Beach Getaway": This was an excellent and wonderful tour. The Mayan Palace is a timeshare resort in the "future" section of Acapulco. As you may know, Acapulco is divided into the "old" section, the "new" section, and the "future" section. This is a magnificent resort like none I have ever seen. We spent the day sitting by the pool by the sea and had a wonderful lunch at a restaurant there. We spent 4 hours there and then returned to the ship. It was a wonderful day shared with some of our new Cruise Critic friends. All the guys bonded standing in the pool. When I've posted my pictures, you will see all of this and the pictures speak a thousand words. On Friday we docked in Huatulco which is a charming and delightful town. I will say, however, that I had gone on this cruise prepared to by sterling silver in our Mexican ports. Forget that! I'm sure if I'd gotten out of the main part of town I could have done better, but I can find much nicer silver here in the states for at least half the price and I told the merchants that. When I saw a piece I liked for $250, the salesman said "let's talk." We talked, but when he realized I wanted something under $100, he led me to their souvenir table. I left empty handed. We did not do a tour here because I'd been told you can easily walk about town and there's a wonderful beach right next to the pier. I found this difficult to believe, but they were right. It's a beautiful, clean, white sand beach and I enjoyed my time there. Huatulco is named for its nine beautiful bays and I would think seriously about returning to enjoy one of their resorts. They are trying to entice tourism there and I'd like to enjoy the beauty of the area before it becomes the next Acapulco. After another wonderful sea day (did I mention that once we got away from the cold dampness of California our weather was magnificent throughout? -- well, a little misty on the Panama Canal, but that kept it cool) ... we arrived on Sunday, 10/30, at Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Here we had booked a tour called: "Aerial Tram Pacific": We docked at the far end of the pier (of course) even though there was no other ship at the pier. They had a trolley with a "toot toot" engine that shuttled everyone to the flea market area. Sadly, I never got to enjoy shopping there since we were so late returning to the ship from our tour. Many people told me they did their very best shopping by the pier in Puntarenas. The bus picked us up right by the ship and drove the 1 ½ hours + to the park in the mid-Pacific. I want to say first that the aerial tram portion of this tour was magnificent and so worthwhile. But the walking portion which we were told was "optional" seem to take up the better portion of the time allowed and quite truthfully I didn't come all the way to Costa Rica to see plants that were not even native to the area. They plopped them in the ground and put little signs on them. They also walked us ever so slowly to see various types of snakes being kept in glass cages along the path. I found this very upsetting. Here we are in the wild and these snakes are housed in little boxes just so we could stare at them in groups of 10 and 20. Because there was a huge back-up at the tram, our guide would walk us about 5 steps and stop us to prattle on about something. I was terribly disappointed in this aspect of the tour, but all was forgiven after our wait for the tram because we really enjoyed our ride up above the canopy of the forest. Even the rain made it all seem that much more beautiful. I was particularly excited when I saw a Fiery Billed Aracari (variety of Toucan) which I pointed out to our guide! I even got a picture of "my" bird giving me a little wave. So late returning to the ship all I had time for was a few quick shots of the sunset before we left this magnificent country. At sea on Halloween with all sorts of shenanigans going on about the ship, we reached the entrance to the Panama Canal and the Bridge of the Americas early in the morning Tuesday, November 1st. We did not tour here because we wanted the experience of cruising "from sea to shining sea" -- the Pacific to the Atlantic. It was more amazing, magnificent and awesome than I ever could have imagined. Seven or eight years ago we did the "half way" portion of the canal through the Gatun Locks, into the Lake and out again. But that paled in comparison to the entire canal. Any of you who have done this cruise know what I mean. I had read and studied a great deal about it so it made the experience that much better. Along the way there was a lot of sharing with Radiance of the Seas as she passed through the canal with us. Again, my pictures will tell a better story than I can. Another day at sea and then we arrived at sunny, warm Aruba on Thursday, 11/3. Docked right in town, I shopped a little in the morning and then joined Rich and Sandy (Our Dream) for a beach day. One of the things that Celebrity does is give you huge beach towels in your cabin for your use throughout the cruise. When you bring them back, they give you a nice fresh new one. I like this so much better than grabbing 2 or 3 smaller towels on HAL. At our second Cruise Critic party, John Howell had told us about a wonderful beach where it wouldn't be so crowded. It isn't even on the map. Since that conversation, John asked me not to publish the name so I won't. But if you're lucky enough to cruise with John, he just might tell you about it. It is a heavenly beach ... a hotel where we presumably were not supposed to be able to rent the thatched umbrellas and lounge chairs, but when we told them we were happy to pay, they were happy to accommodate us. We found a huge umbrella under which all 4 chaises fit. We were right by the water so could all easily swim without worrying about our things. The water felt like liquid silk and the color of the water was incredible to behold. Having come from the Pacific where we did not see waters like this, it was all that much more appreciated. We had a wonderful day there. After 2 more days at sea, we arrived back home in Ft. Lauderdale -- a very sad day for me because as I have said before, this journey could not have been more fun, more enjoyable, more fulfilling or any better in any way. CLOTHING AND ATTIRE Couldn't come up with a name for this section, but did want to mention that DH after much thought did take advantage of Cruise line Formals. He has his own tux so was reluctant to pay $85 for this service. He did not regret it! First, it fit better than his own since they used his current measurements as opposed to those of several years ago when he was just a wee bit smaller. But beyond that, the ease of having it delivered to the stateroom and leaving it there was worth every penny. The tux was quite stunning and he looked wonderful. When I post our pictures later on this thread, you'll see how nice it was. I highly recommend it. I packed perfectly for dinner, but took way too many casual clothes. When you pack for a 2-week, remember to remove 1/3 of what you plan on taking -- maybe even more. If all else fails you can throw on a cover-up and pretend you're on the way to the pool. On our 14 night cruise we enjoyed 8 Casual nights, 3 Informal and 3 Formal. This threw me a little because I thought it was 7 Casual nights, but luckily I had an Informal outfit that could pass for Casual. DISEMBARKATION: We were told we would have "priority" disembarkation, but all this meant in the end was that we had a special lounge to wait where Danish and coffee were served. There were so many Europeans on this cruise who needed to fly from Miami that we could not disembark until 10:00. This was not a problem since we live in West Palm Beach and friends were meeting us. The entire process was a "piece of cake." We went for breakfast at 8:15 and returned to our cabin. Lorna told us we could wait there, but at 9:30 we went to the Cinema so we would hear when "Red4" was called. Suddenly we felt we were in a James Bond film waiting for the code word "Red4!" Promptly at about 9:45 we were called and left the ship with no jamming, elbowing or anything. All the bags were organized in their color categories and while the line through customs appeared very long, we whisked through literally in minutes and were in our car and on our way by 10:15. FINAL THOUGHTS: It's the people who made this journey so absolutely amazing. Many of them were fellow CC'ers and many we just met along the way. You may think this rave review is just too good to be true. But this was 2 weeks of pure bliss. I'm not easy to impress and you should also know that the entire first week I was trying to reach someone back home in West Palm Beach, FL, to see if our house was still standing after Wilma. But despite that anxiety and the $200 spent on the internet trying to get news, I still managed to have on of the most wonderful times in my entire life. I won't be forgetting any of it anytime soon and I hope the friendships we made onboard will last a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
As we gathered at the Los Angeles cruise terminal prior to boarding Summit, rumors already abounded as to a quickly developing hurricane that was now threatening the Pacific coast of Mexico. This had, of course, been a particularly ... Read More
As we gathered at the Los Angeles cruise terminal prior to boarding Summit, rumors already abounded as to a quickly developing hurricane that was now threatening the Pacific coast of Mexico. This had, of course, been a particularly active (and tragic) storm season in the Atlantic, and we knew upon booking this cruise back in June that hurricane risk even in the Pacific could be a factor. Nonetheless we boarded with great expectations, glad to be back aboard Celebrity Cruises following the 18-month hiatus since we'd sailed sister ship Constellation. Glass of champagne in hand, we soaked in the Grand Foyer, then toured the ship to explore the similarities and differences Summit had to offer. Most notably changed on Summit was the Bar at the Edge of the Earth, a renovated space that was designed for performances by Cirque du Soleil. The Edge indeed has a bit of an edgy feel, with luminescent ceiling hangings and canopied lounges  this replacing the ship's night club area, top deck forward, but still offering panoramic 180-degree views. Later in the day, however, we were informed that Cirque du Soleil performances had been suspended on Summit from this sailing onward, and were in the process of re-tooling. Though this was of some disappointment to us, we'd heard mixed reviews of the Cirque experience on Celebrity thus far, and were satisfied to know they were responding to customer feedback. Perhaps they might heed our comments, then, regarding Summit's artwork. While Constellation has some nice art in its public spaces, from Peter Max in an elevator lobby to a Chihuly chandelier outside the nightclub. Summit, meanwhile, has unstimulating photography and minimal gallery-quality pieces on display around the ship, causing us to wonder whether they'd pulled the good stuff and replaced it with a high-school art project. That aside, however, Summit is a classy ship, with decor bright enough to invoke that special at-sea feeling but relatively subdued compared to her cruise industry counterparts. The colors of Summit's Martini Bar and Champagne Bar gave less aqua and more cremes and beige than her sister ship, while the woodwork and carpeting have been kept up immaculately. That afternoon we took to our stateroom, and thanks to a short-lived deal earlier in the summer, we were in a balcony cabin for the first time. They say that once you have a balcony you cannot go back, and this was immediately apparent to us. On two previous cruises we'd had inside staterooms, appreciating the pitch darkness for sleeping at night, but missing some contact with the sea. With this cabin, however, we would not be sorry. As you'll see in the pictures, we took in sunsets, sunrises, breakfast on the verandah, early morning port arrivals, late night drinks, and the soothing noise of the bow crashing into wave after wave, all from the privacy of our quarters. This was especially beneficial due to our itinerary, which had four days scheduled at sea. The rumors of the hurricane, meanwhile, would add a fifth sea day. Before these came to fruition, however, we'd depart Los Angeles at sunset, meeting some of our fellow CruiseCritic.com members at a sailaway get-together which meandered from Mast Bar to Martini Bar. Following this was second-seating dinner, casual for the first night, where we got to meet our table mates with whom we'd dine for the entire sailing. A waiter gave some caution as we approached the table for six, indicating that the other four diners didn't speak English. The Assistant Maitre D, a lively Serbian named Sasha, invited us to be seated, however, noting that we would always change the dining arrangements the next day. Much to our delight, however, no such arrangement was necessary. We would have the pleasure of dining with a lovely couple from the Bay Area, Florin and Camelia, who were joined by Camelia's parents visiting from Romania. I commented that my father's mother had come from Romania, and that much of his family was from nearby Kishinev, the Moldovan capital. Turns out the mother and father live not so far from Kishinev, and we had a good laugh about what a small world it is. And thus we broke the ice, and broke bread together. Well, more than just bread, of course, as every meal in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room was a five course affair. Overall we were quite pleased with Summit's gastronomy, with kudos going to the meat dishes, the salads and consommes, and appetizers such as escargots and shrimp cocktail. And our waiter, assistant waiter, and assistant maitre d were omnipresent in their drive to go above and beyond, accommodating our every request. Liked the escargots? They'd magically appear from off-the-menu on subsequent evenings. Order a side of tasty fries one night? They'd be brought to the table every night thereafter, even on the last formal night with prime rib and lobster. Reminded us of our waiter on Constellation, Janusz, whom we later saw on this cruise! Turns out this was his last cruise, his contract was up and he was headed back to Krakow. So we felt glad to have seen Janusz, and got his email and phone number for someday we'd like to visit Krakow. Since Celebrity prides itself on having food that's a cut above the other mainstream lines, however, it's only appropriate that we mention a few shortcomings. The chilled soups were more like an early dessert, fruity and extremely sweet. The seafood was inconsistent, with shrimp and scallops not always cooked to perfection. And we were not the only ones to comment on the general saltiness of the food on board, surprising in an era when even cruisers are more conscious of health and diet. The sushi is decent, though of course we had our fill of good sushi in LA both before and after the cruise. The buffets were also fine, though their theme offerings usually came up short. Pizza and pasta were better on Princess, and we missed their bay shrimp, calamari, and fish & chips; but we appreciate the smaller touches on Celebrity such as real plates and linen (as opposed to the Princess platter), and waiters who carry your tray to the table and then bring juice or iced tea for you. At breakfast they also come by with fresh pastries, coffee, and tea in the buffet seating area, another nice touch. Lunch in the Cosmopolitan dining room was adequate though not as succulent as dinner, and breakfast here was fine, though it was far more enjoyable when we ate al fresco on the verandah. We also enjoyed several meals, snacks, and drinks on the teak patio behind the buffet area, a largely shaded area with full views from the aft. Jen had brought tiramisu out here one windy afternoon, and the cocoa powder was flying everywhere; luckily Sacha had been helping Jen and brought another napkin. We also knew, prior to boarding Summit, that we'd dine at least once at her specialty restaurant, The Normandie. This was a refined experience we'd loved on Constellation, and so we'd made reservations for the last night of the cruise. Upon boarding we stopped by Normandie to see about adding a night earlier in the cruise, and lo and behold the man behind the podium was Mario, our waiter from Constellation's specialty restaurant. In the middle of our first meal at Normandie we then saw Ivo, our wonderful Sommelier from Constellation, and were happy to chat with him as well. Not to be forgotten ever is the dining experience itself, beginning with an amuse bouche of salmon in pastry, followed by a tableside preparation of caesar salad from scratch, complete with egg whites whisked for nearly ten minutes. The lobster veloute and goat cheese souffle were, as always, remarkable, and the Chateaubriand for two was the best we've ever had, complemented by foie gras seared to perfection and a hearty Australian shiraz. We each partook from the cheese cart, with mild, medium, bleu, and goat cheeses but even in two sittings still didn't get to all fifteen varieties that were offered. Care for a glass of port with your cheese? They wheel another cart over, just ports, and I have Graham's Malvados for the first time. My only regret is not getting a bottle of this stuff in LA afterwards, since the liquor stores neither in Ontario nor in Quebec carry it. The meal is completed by, of course, dessert. I'd pre-ordered the chocolate souffle, decadent but not too sweet, served in it's baking bowl, unlike on Princess (who unskilfully carve it out and serve it without appeal into a brown mound). No, Celebrity does it right. And Jen's ganache was a perfect marriage of flavors chocolate and banana, with coconut ice cream on the side, a taste of the tropics that we were now about to enter. Earlier in the day, this our first full day at sea, Captain Karatzas made his noon announcement and confirmed the rumors: due to the proximity and strength of Hurricane Otis (which had been elevated from Tropical Storm just yesterday  sorry, couldn't resist at least one Otis Elevator reference), we'd be skipping our first port call of Cabo San Lucas, steering around the storm, and hopefully returning to a course for Mazatlan on Monday. The shipboard television channel also featured a repeating announcement from the bridge, with the captain outlining our course on visual charts and assuring one and all that safety was of paramount concern (this despite some whining from a few idiot passengers upset that they'd miss Cabo). He and the crew had also prepared the ship for rough seas, with breakables stowed, production shows cancelled in the theatre, and passengers advised to exercise caution when walking. A grade of A goes to Celebrity for communicating all of this so well; in fact the worst of the storm was always well east of us, and even near the ship's bow we felt little more than nominal rocking. After a second day at sea, with a leisurely pace and high clouds but tropical temperatures, we shook off the rough seas at night and steamed into port on schedule Monday morning. The slowing of the ship must have woken me up, and as I stepped out onto the balcony, the lights of Mazatlan were giving way to a slowly unfading dawn. We sailed past the sportfishing docks, where I'd once hung a 167-pound marlin, with outriggers and shrimp boats passing us in the opposite direction, heading out for a day's catch. Today we shared the berth with Regal Princess, which at 15 years is the oldest member of the Princess Cruises fleet. An hour later we were off the gangway and onto a series of pickup truck, water taxi, and tractor, finally reaching the coconut groves of Isla Piedra. Here we saddled up and headed out to the beach on horseback, and, save for the sunblock which was now streaking into my eyes, it was a wonderful time. My horse preferred to walk through the water rather than on the higher beach, slowing us down a bit but hey (hay is for horses), what's the hurry anyway?! Following a beer in the thatched palapa that is Victor's, we opted to return to the ship, clean up, and head into town. Though they say that much of Mazatlan has changed, it was good to see that El Centro had stayed much the same, with the Mercado and Cathedral being the highlights. Many passengers complained that Mazatlan wasn't pretty or exotic enough, but what I'd remind them was that it's an actual town, not just a resort but a working city, complete with a busy port and an economy that involves more than tourism alone. The next day we called on Puerto Vallarta, definitely more of a resort town, with its picturesque bay and seaside promenade lined with sculptures. Like Mazatlan, PV was hot and muggy, and after walking around town for strolling and shopping and a side trip to the former home of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton we spent the rest of the day aboard ship, greeted with cold towels, water, and a warm welcome home from several staff members. One gets the feeling that this really is home for the thousand or so crew and staff of Summit, and they're happy to share it with us, eager to show us a good time, aiming to please at every turn. Sailing out of Vallarta we saw the storm clouds gathering, and the next day gave us a new twist on thunderstorms, with 360-degrees of lightning at sea. Particularly unique was having breakfast in the cantilevered Deck 10 dining area, with dark skies, bolts of lightning, claps of thunder, and a view of the churning seas below through the glass cut-outs in the floor. That day I attended the second of four screenwriting seminars, part of the enrichment series that Celebrity offers; also available were a motivational series, computer classes, and acupuncture. Of course no day at sea is complete without the requisite art auction, afternoon tea, trivia contests, jackpot bingo, and the like. A nicety on Celebrity, though, is that these are not in-your-face profit centers, unlike on Princess who feel compelled to announce something every ten minutes. On Celebrity it's one announcement a day, that being the daily update from the bridge. The rain followed us into Acapulco, where a taxi driver told us about the tormenta they'd been having. Still, the showers dissipated by the time we reached La Quebrada, and we were able to see the famed cliff divers  one of those must-dos that, well, you just do. After buying a ticket, we were seated in a cliffside location facing the divers, where we once again ran into our tablemates from dinner (we'd seen them in PV as well as every day aboard ship, this on a ship of 2,000 passengers). Later we took a taxi around the cliffs and up a hill to Hotel Los Flamingos, a once-swanky (much like Acapulco itself) joint that was a favorite of Hollywood legends such as Johnny Weismuller, who filmed Tarzan in Acapulco and spent much of his life here afterwards. Los Flamingos is one of the best places in town for pozole, a hearty soup-stew concoction made of pork, hominy, onions, and garlic, and served with fixings to add such as avocado, cilantro, small but potent limes, oregano, jack cheese, jalapeno, tortillas, chicharones (pork rinds) etc. And Thursday is the traditional day to eat pozole, so we lucked out on all counts. This was our only meal off the ship, and, along with an appetizer of tamales, it was well worth the venture. We'd even contemplated dinner elsewhere in town, for perhaps another bowl of pozole and some fresh seafood, but upon seeing the main dining room menu with escargots, filet mignon, and other enticing offerings, we opted to stay aboard. Later we sailed out of Acapulco Love Boat style, close to midnight with all the lights in this harbor as a backdrop that we'll never forget. And thanks to Mike and Mary, who hosted a get-together at their cabin  the balcony extends out from the aft of the ship, giving 270-degree views. The previous day we'd done a roving stateroom tour, where various CruiseCritic.com members opened up their cabins for all to see. It was like a giant conga line at one point, roaming through the ship, other passengers joining, and all of us getting to see the various rooms and suites that Celebrity offers. Of course there's not a bad cabin to be had on a cruise, but some of these were quite amazing, with balconies and views of varying sizes and angles, and in-suite features such as flat-screen TVs, marble bathtubs with a view, etc. The one product we didn't get to see up close was the Penthouse Suite, though from the balconies of Mike & Mary and Jan & Colin, we did see the Penthouse balcony, hot tub and all. Our last port was the sleepy town of Zihuatanejo, and we were fortunate to have had the skies clear up for this gem. We anchored out in the crescent-shaped, well-sheltered bay and tendered ashore, immediately realizing we were not in your standard port  no duty free shops, no Diamonds International, just palm-lined beachfront with thatched-roofed cafes, beaches that went on and on, and a small, snaking promenade that made for a relaxing morning. Later we ambled through the flea market, picking up some nice silver pieces in a low-pressure, relaxing environment. Sailing out of Zihua (with butterflies all around us) and past the resort-lined beaches of Ixtapa on Friday afternoon, we knew we'd reached our final destination and would have two and a half sea days in which to enjoy the duration of the cruise. Of course that time went all too quickly, relaxing on the verandah; eating our way through dinners at the Cosmopolitan and Normandie; looking at (completely content and unable at all to eat) the Magnifique Gala Buffet; taking in elegant tea in the Cosmopolitan; having martinis with our mates Jan & Colin, Larry & Sue, and Mike & Mary; all etching into our memories this great cruise. We'll most definitely sail Celebrity again. It was and remains our cruise line of choice, though we continue to explore others. Our next sailing is booked on Oceania Cruises, from Athens to Istanbul, and no balcony on that one, but somehow I think we'll survive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.7
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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